How do you solve a problem like Maryam?

An opinion piece by Brian Dooley.

The Bahraini government faces a tricky choice in the coming days as it weighs the political price of jailing leading human rights defender Maryam Al Khawaja.

Based abroad for the last few years, Maryam has been a leading advocate against the regime’s human rights abuses. In the early morning hours of Saturday, August 30, she was arrested on a trip back to Bahrain, where authorities must now decide if it’s best to face the condemnation of locking her up for a long time or better to have her return to the international political circuit where she so brilliantly exposes their false claims of reform.

Maryam told me on Thursday that she wanted to go back to Bahrain and see her dad, who’s on hunger strike in prison. She knew there were risks since she’s been regularly targeted by the Bahraini authorities since she left the kingdom in 2011. She was hopeful though since her visit there in January 2013 didn’t result in her arrest.


Published on September 5, 2014


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