In an interview with Amnesty Netherlands, Bahraini human rights defender Maryam al-Khawaja asserted that after more than seven years of protests, Bahrain’s ‘reality and system’ remain unchanged.
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - In an interview with Amnesty Netherlands, Bahraini human rights defender Maryam al-Khawaja asserted that after more than seven years of protests, Bahrain’s ‘reality and system’ remain unchanged.
“The government still sees the population as an enemy,” she said.
In recent years, Manama has been sharpening its clampdown on all forms of dissent by further restricting the right to freedom of expression and association, banning opposition groups and independent newspapers as well as jailing thousands following sham trials.
But Al-Khawaja believes that Bahrain can still be saved if the ruling Al-Khalifa clan loses the support of its foreign backers.
“We do not have to be released. We need to bring about social and political changes ourselves, and we can. But foreign governments must stop supporting the royal family in Bahrain,” Al-Khawaja said.
She also explains that dissatisfaction among the vast majority of Bahrain’s population transcends sectarian aspects.
According to Al-Khawaja, “the story that it is a battle between Sunnis and Shiites is an instrument of the government in its divide-and-rule policy.”
The prominent activist’s father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, was tortured, tried by Manama’s military court, and sentenced to life in prison for his role in Bahrain’s 2011 uprising.