UPDATED: Danish human rights activist arrested in Bahrain, faces torture: will Danish foreign minister intervene?

Update: Zainab is back home!

Carstenagger sez, "The blogger and human rights activist Zainab Alkhawaja has been detained since Thursday, December 15th, where she was detained after being teargassed while participating in a peaceful demonstration. Her husband and her father are imprisoned, her father sentenced to life in prison and allegedly hideously tortured. Zainab is in *great danger* of being tortured, given the present climate in Bahrain. Zainab is a very courageous activist, which prompted NY Times reporter Nicholas Kristof to tweet: 'I suggest that Bahrain officials avoid torturing and imprisoning @AngryArabiya. Some day she could be their president.' Here is how YOU can help: Zainab is a Danish citizen. Our new Minister of Foreign Affairs is all too fond of photo ops with Hillary Clinton, but he will succumb to pressure and hopefully create a diplomatic incident to protect one of his citizens. Please drop him a line on udenrigsministeren@um.dk and express your concern for Zainab Alkhawaja and ask him to use his influence to demand her release [Ed: see above -- she's back home]."

Dansk aktivist anholdt i Bahrain (Thanks, Carsten!)

(Photo: @mazenmahdi)


  1. I just sent off an email.  It’s always fun to let the people in powerful positions know that they are being critically watched.

  2. And, lest we forget, Zainab’s release should not make us forget the political prisoners still left in their cells in Bahrain, who may have less profile and less personal support.

    Zainab tweets:

    “These last few days were tough, but the only thing that broke me down was leaving political prisoner Fathiya behind #bahrain

    Fathiya is such a great woman, she is so sweet & wonderful. I cant believe she has been in prison this long, forgotten by every1″

    And police violence, torture and killings. We should not forget Bahrain.

  3. Why do people use strike through when changing articles? Just delete it that part of the article… it’s the internet.

    1. Because it makes it far clearer if you saw the first version, or you’re sent here by someone who did. I far prefer it when a source acknowledges that they got their facts wrong, or the story is now out of date, rather than just pretending they were right all along. It’s one of the things Boing Boing gets right.

      1. Sounds kind of silly. The benefit of working digitally is you can easily change things later and keep your article looking nice.

  4. So I guess this means our new foreign minister is pretty cool after all, despite all the hate he receives these days due to his lacking english speaking skills. Thats good news. Don´t judge a book by its cover and don´t judge a foreign minister by his english.

    1. I don’t think the Danish foreign minister had anything to do with her release, so how cool he is and whether he has the courage to stand up for human rights in Bahrain remains to be seen.

      I personally don’t care about his English, it’s better than my own French.

  5. Must be easier to get one of your citizens out of a torture prison when you don’t torture other foreign nationals yourself.

  6. According to this article (in Danish, Google Translate will go al long way) Zainab still risks two years’ prison for, among other things, “”assaulting a police officer” (sigh). According to her family, she has suffered crass violence during her arrest:


    You can see her “assault” on the police officer in the video of her arrest – more of the type “the defendant viciously hammered his forehead against my boot”.

    1. “Home”? As they say, “it’s complicated”. Zainab is a Danish citizen, but the family is from Bahrain. They left Bahrain as political refugees in the 1980s and became naturalized citizens, and Zainab was raised in Denmark. They returned to Bahrain around 2000, when there were signs of reform. So she is home.

      Supposing that you didn’t mean “in her house, not protesting in the streets”. You can read more about the background story in her father’s Wikipedia page.

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