Bahrain upholds jail term of newsman

Manama: Bahrain upheld a 10-year jail term for a photojournalist on Sunday and detained a human rights activist, as it presses a crackdown on the majority sect over a 2011 uprising.

Bahrain’s appeals court decided on Sunday to uphold a jail term handed down to award-winning photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan despite appeals by rights group for his release.

Rights watchdogs say Humaidan was merely covering the Arab Spring-inspired pro-democracy protests that erupted in the kingdom.

“Throwing photographers in jail isn’t going to keep either the protests or the accounts of what happens in Bahrain out of the world’s sight,” Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch said in June.

Humaidan, 25, was put on trial in February along with 29 other members of the majority sect and accused of attacking a police station with Molotov cocktails and improvised explosives.

Authorities, meanwhile, have arrested Maryam Al Khawaja after she flew into Bahrain to visit her jailed father, leading activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, his lawyer said.

Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, jailed for life for plotting to overthrow the monarchy, staged a 110-day hunger strike in 2012 in protest against his imprisonment and is now on hunger strike again, lawyer Mohammed Al Jishi said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch describe Khawaja, 54, as a “prisoner of conscience”.
Maryam is co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and had been hoping to visit him in jail when she was arrested and “stripped of her Bahraini nationality”, Jishi said.

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