Bahraini activist banned from boarding flight home

Nadeen Shaker , Friday 9 Aug 2013

Ahead of major protests, activist Al-Khwaja is stopped at the airport under Bahraini ban; says the govt wants 'no witnesses to its current and anticipated future violations'

Maryam al-Khawaja (Twitter Photo)

Prominent Bahraini activist, Maryam Al-Khwaja, was prevented from boarding a British Airways flight from Copenhagen Friday, according to IBTimes UK.

Airport personnel later told Al-Khwaja that her named flashed in a message from the Bahraini government to airport authorities.

Al-Khwaja later tweeted, "What I want to know is what the regime is so afraid of that they [would] issue a ban preventing me from travelling to bahrain."

According to a Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BHCR) statement, for whom Al-Khwaja works as acting president, Al-Khwaja was due to visit her sister and detained father.

The statement also found the decision "worrying as it is clear that it wants no witnesses to its current and anticipated future violations."

Recently, the Bahraini parliament agreed on a set of 22 recommendations to curb "terrorism" in the energy-rich country.

The recommendations urged "applying all punitive laws" and penalties related to committing acts of terrorism - the harshest of which is stripping instigators of their citizenship. Parliament also granted security bodies "all required and appropriate powers," such as cracking down on political associations inciting violence and punishing social media users.

Moreover, Bahrain has made a record of 221 entry-denials since 14 February, 2011, according to Bahrain Watch.  Amongst those barred are foreign journalists, NGO members, politicians, trade unionists, aid workers and activists.

Bahrain is preparing for mass protests in its Independence Day on 14 August, which authorities vowed to respond to harshly.

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