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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Police Let Bahraini Hunger Striker See Husband For 6 Minutes

@ Kristina Chew
In April, 27-year-old Zainab al-Khawaja went on a 10-day hunger strike to protest the beating and arrest of her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human rights activist, her husband and her brother-in-law. Yesterday, she was allowed to see her husband, Wafi Almajed, for six minutes.
Khawaja's activism has continued; on Wednesday, she and two other women were arrested for staging a sit-in at the United Nations in Manama and released after one day, says the Guardian. Khawaja has documented her efforts on Twitter on her AngryArabiya account. I'm quoting a number of her tweets about her and her daughter Jude's meeting with her husband as each short post says a lot more than it seems to.
They took us to a room, after searching us. Then Wafi walked in. I dunno how to explain how I felt.
We hugged Wafi, then he was asked to sit on a chair abt 4 mtrs away from us
There were at least 5 police with us in the small room, and 2 by the door. all looking and listening to us
I woke jude and walked over and put her in his lap. I cud tell he's fighting tears
Wafi started singin Barneys "I love u song" to jude, infront of all the police
Jude had just woken up and was staring at Wafi, probably surprised. Then wafi sang "if all the raindrops" another of Judes favorites
As he sang, I look at Wafi. His face has a lot of bruises. Blackish color, but they look like old bruises
Then he kept saying "jude has grown, she's so much bigger. Does she talk? Wat can she say?"
he asked abt family, asked me why I had lost so much weight. Asked if I was ok
The whole meeting was abt 6 minutes. The police said "visit is over"
We hugged, he told me to take good care of jude, I told him to stay strong and pray. He smiled "don't worry, all we do is pray"
We had a bag of food for Wafi, biscuits, dates, bread, mixed nuts. They refused to take it.
Khawaja also writes that she was required to stand outside the gate of the prison awhile before going to see her husband. When the gate opened, the police officer she saw was one Faisal, "one of the police who beat up my father when they arrested him" and "the same Faisal who was a witness in court, and lied on the stand."
In the days proceeding her visit with her husband, Khawaja had speculated that she was made to wait 70 days to see "her husband could be to allow the physical signs of any mistreatment to fade." She also notes that her husband did not ask about her father, probably because he had been ordered by the police not too.
After the meeting, Khawaja writes:
will do everythin in my power so my daughter grows up in a free Bahrain. so that our children will never have to go thru this in future;
-- so that a little girl can sit in her father's lap for more than 6 minutes in 70 days.

Take Action! 
Sign the Care2 petition to free Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, Bahraini human rights activist.

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