Zainab Al-Khawaja

Zainab Al-KhawajaZainab Al-Khawaja

"I dream of those I love, and it is their love that gives me the strength to fight for the dreams of our country."

Zainab Al-Khawaja is a human rights defender and leading social media activist in Bahrain. She has been a key figure in the pro-democracy uprising that started in Bahrain in February 2011, and has drawn worldwide attention to the country's peaceful protests and severe violations of human rights. She has endured legal harassment, arrest, imprisonment, denial of procedural rights, and undertaken hunger strikes in defense of human rights in Bahrain.

There are currently five court cases against Zainab Al-Khawaja, following eight previous cases against the human rights defender.

On 21 October 2015, her 32nd birthday, a Bahrain appeals court reduced her three year sentence to one year, upheld a 3000BD fine, and postponed verdicts in three other cases. She is due in court in November on a fifth case.

She has been free on bail since sentencing in December 2014 to 4 years and 4 months in prison in two separate court hearings. This includes a three-year sentence for merely tearing up a picture of the King. In another case, Al-Khawaja was convicted of entering a restricted area, while attempting to visit her father, human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, in prison in August 2014.

Zainab has been campaigning since April 2011 for the release of her father, a prominent HRD and former Front Line Defenders Protection Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.

Front Line Defenders has issued urgent appeals and news items about Zainab Al-Khawaja:

Human Rights Defenders in Bahrain

21 October 2015 - Bahrain: Zainab Al-Khawaja Sentence Reduced; Still Faces Arrest and Imprisonment

11 December 2014 - Zainab Al- Khawaja sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in two separate court hearings

25 November 2014 - Provisional release of human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja

15 October 2014 - Human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja arrested

25 February 2014 - Trial of human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja postponed

19 February 2014 - Human rights defender and pro-democracy activist Zainab Al-Kawaja has been released from prison

26 June 2013 - Human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja given new jail term

23 May 2013 - Sentencing of human rights defenders Zainab Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel

1 March 2013 - Arrest of human rights defender Ms Zainab Al-Khawaja, while Court of Appeal rejects two appeals against prison sentences

17 December 2012 - Sentencing and extended detention of human rights defender Ms Zainab Al Khawaja

22 May 2012 - One hundred organisations call to end assault on freedom of speech, and to free all detained human rights defenders and netizens

21 May 2012 - Front Line Defenders reiterates its concerns at ongoing repression of human rights defenders as Bahraini Government submits report to UPR Review

8 March 2012 - Newsweek's 150 Fearless Women - 10 Supported by Front Line Defenders

16 February 2012 - Arrest and charges against human rights defender Ms Zainab Al Khawaja

20 December 2011 - Front Line Defenders calls for the release of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and Zainab Alkhawaja as well as end to violence against peaceful protestors