Target: Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Goal: Thank Bahrain for releasing a human rights activist and her toddler from prison.
Human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja and her young son have been released from prison on “humanitarian grounds,” Amnesty International reports. Al-Khawaja and her son have left for Denmark, where she also holds citizenship. This comes after news that she would likely be re-arrested and sentenced to longer imprisonment if she stayed, and that this time she would not be allowed to keep her son with her.
Al-Khawaja was arrested and jailed for ripping up pictures of Bahrain’s king. She also has a number of other charges to her name, all of which appear to be politically motivated. Her father is also a prisoner of conscience in Bahrain.
Zainab al-Khawaja’s release has undoubtedly come as as result of the international attention her case has received. Calls for her release, including those from activists here at ForceChange, have resulted in the Bahraini government bowing to public pressure. Sign the petition thanking Bahrain for releasing al-Khawaja and her son, and urge officials to respect freedom of speech by dropping all other charges against her.
I am writing to thank you for your decision to release Zainab al-Khawaja and another female prisoner, both of whom had their children with them in prison, on humanitarian grounds. This is a significant step forward for human rights in Bahrain, and I urge you to follow it with others, such as dropping all charges against Zainab al-Khawaja.
The charges against al-Khawaja were all politically motivated, and many stemmed from incidents in which she ripped up a picture of Your Highness. However disrespectful such an act may be toward Bahrain and Bahraini authorities, the fact remains that al-Khawaja is entitled to the basic human right of nonviolent freedom of expression. Her political beliefs, peacefully expressed, are not crimes.
I urge you to use this forward momentum to pursue a brighter future for human rights in Bahrain, for Zainab al-Khawaja, for other activists, and for everyday citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Connor McCabe