Wife of UK-based Bahraini human rights defender sentenced to jail in absentia

21st March 2018: A Bahraini criminal court has convicted and sentenced Duaa Alwadaei, the wife of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, to two months in prison for allegedly insulting a public official. Sayed Alwadaei is the Director of Advocacy at SRT grantee the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD).

Duaa’s conviction comes after she exposed ill-treatment committed by Bahraini security forces when she was interrogated at Bahrain International Airport in October 2016. Duaa told Human Rights Watch that during her interrogation she was physically mistreated, insulted and warned that her family would be imprisoned if she exposed her ill-treatment and her husband’s activities continued.

Duaa had been warned ‘not to speak out’ about the incident, having been threatened with further interrogations and fabricated criminal charges that could lead to a three-year prison sentence. Duaa’s then 18-month-old son, who was with her at the time, was forcibly separated from his mother and only reunited with her when the interrogation began. Duaa told Human Rights Watch that her son was visibly ‘terrified’ during the interrogation.

Duaa’s trial was held in absentia because she lives in London. Her mother, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, brother Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, and cousin Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor have also been subjected to unfair trials and are serving sentences ranging from three to six years in prison. Sayed Alwadaei believes these convictions are part of a campaign of reprisals for his highlighting of human rights abuses in Bahrain.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei said, ‘This is how the Bahraini authorities respond to protests in London and Bahrain […] Political exiles, Bahraini or Russian, should be able to live peacefully in the UK without fear of reprisals against them or their families’.

Full story from BIRD’s website: http://birdbh.org/2018/03/bahrain-wife-of-uk-based-bahraini-human-rights-defender-convicted-as-reprisals-escalate/
Guardian article by Sayad Alwadaei: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/22/wife-jail-bahrain-why-wont-uk-act

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