Hunger striker's daughter detained over Bahrain F1 protest


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The Independent Online

The daughter of a jailed hunger striker has been remanded in custody for protesting during the Formula One Grand Prix last weekend.

Zainab al-Khawaja was arrested on Saturday after she sat down on the highway running past Bahrain's financial district. The protesters were hoping to embarrass the kingdom's rulers at a time when the race drew international media attention. They are pressing for democratic reforms in a country dominated by the ruling Al Khalifa family, a Sunni dynasty that rules over a majority Shia population.

"They decided yesterday to hold her for seven days for holding up traffic and insulting a public official. She refused to talk in the investigations or to sign papers," said her lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi.

The pro-government al-Bilad newspaper cited the charge as "aggressing against a woman police officer and verbally insulting her".

International rights groups have called for the release of her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and 13 other protest leaders in jail for their role in the pro-democracy uprising.

On Monday an appeals court delayed their case to 30 April, prompting Amnesty International to accuse the authorities of playing with Mr Khawaja's life. The government says he is in good health in a military hospital.