‘Radical’ female Bahrain blogger freed, refuses to leave prison

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Zainab al-Khawaja, a female blogger from Bahrain who was arrested for anti-establishment comments on Twitter, has been released on bail. Unfortunately for Bahraini authorities, Al-Khawaja refuses to leave captivity.

Al-Khawaja tweeted, “Down, Down King Hamed,” before her violent arrest which was captured on YouTube. The video has garnered close on 200 000 views. Al-Khawaja’s Twitter handle is “Angry Arabiya.”

Another tweet before going dark read:

The video shows Al-Khawaja being assaulted by female police officers as they attempt to drag her away. The one-woman demonstration can be attributed to support for the Arab Spring protests which took place earlier this year.

Her crime, as stated by the authorities is “taking part in illegal assemblies on Budaiya highway and assaulting a female police officer.”

Al-Khawaja, along with Maasuma al-Sayed were both charged for the same crime. Bahraini state news says that a criminal case is pending.

Maasuma al-Sayed and Al-Khawaja refuse to leave prison until Fathia Abdali Hayat is released with them. Hayat was detained for sheltering protesters.

Why is Bahrain so determined to free these women? Currently, it is in the process of purchasing arms shipments from the States. To secure the deal, Bahrain needs to dramatically improve its human rights record. Washington has said that the pending US$53-million arms sales is directly tied to the Bahrain monarchy ending protester abuses.

Al-Khawaja promised to share more information about her time in prison and the details of her arrest, as stated in a tweet.

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