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Three activists released after arrest at UN building

Left to right: Sawsan Jawad, Asma Darwish, Zainab AlKhawaja
Left to right: Sawsan Jawad, Asma Darwish, Zainab AlKhawaja

(BCHR/IFEX) - Three women - Zaynab Alkhawaja, Asma Darwish and Sausan Jawad - who were arrested in Bahrain on 15 June 2011 as they tried to stage a sit-in at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices, were released later that night after giving personal guarantees that they would stay in the country. The Public Security Chief stated that the evacuation of the three women from the UNDP premises by the Capital Governorate's police was carried out after receiving an official written request from the UNDP resident representative asking the police to "peacefully evacuate" the women.

Ms Zaynab Alkhawaja (better known as @Angryarabiya on twitter) is the daughter of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a prominent human rights activist. Her husband, uncle and brother-in-law are all in prison. Ms Sausan Jawad (@sparweezj) is the daughter of detained activist Parweez Jawad. Ms Asma Darwish (@Eagertobefree) is in her second week of a hunger strike protesting the detention of her brother.

The three women had staged a sit-in to protest the arrest and detention of their family members and had submitted a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, asking that the UN take action.

After a three-hour sit-in at the UNDP office in Bahrain on 15 June, Zaynab Alkhawaja, Asma Darwish and Sausan Jawad were forcibly removed from the premises by Bahraini police and arrested.

According to the Bahraini Ministry of Interior, the action was taken at the request of the UNDP officials. According to a tweet by the interior ministry: "Legal procedures were taken today against three women who refused to leave the UN office after receiving complaints from the office's officials."

Download the letter by the three women to the UN Secretary General here.
lettertoUNBahrainwomen15June.pdf (42 KB)

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