[This statement of concern was published by the Bahrain Center for Human Right on 29 August, 2014, shortly after Maryam al-Khawaja was detained in Bahrain].
The Bahrain Center for Human rights expresses its grave concern over denying the human rights defender and co-director of the Gulf Center for Human rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, entry to her native country Bahrain.
Maryam al-Khawaja decided to fly to Bahrain to visit her father, the detained human rights defender, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who began an open hunger strike on 26 August, 2014. Al-Khawaja`s health has been rapidly deteriorating.
Upon arrival to Bahrain airport hours earlier, Maryam al-Khawaja was told by security forces that she does not have Bahraini citizenship. Al-Khawaja`s Danish passport was confiscated and she was told to shut off her mobile phone or it will be confiscated.
Maryam al-Khawaja sent us the below message:
If this letter has gone public then it means that the Bahraini authorities have not let me into the country. Due to this, I have decided to launch a water-only hunger strike and to refuse to leave the Bahraini airport. I will continue the hunger strike until I am allowed in to Bahrain to see my father. I want to make it clear that I refuse any and all food or treatment during my hunger strike. Sincerely, Maryam Al-Khawaja.
The BCHR calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately allow Maryam al-Khawaja access to her family and lawyer and allow her to enter her country Bahrain.
Below are tweets Maryam al-Khawaja posted upon her arrival to Bahrain:
I`m being detained in airport. Telling me I don`t have Bahraini citizenship. I`m asking for proof.— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) August 29, 2014
I`m denied entry. I`m starting a water-only hunger strike. I won`t voluntarily leave. My only demand is to be let into my country. #Bahrain— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) August 29, 2014
Overheard guards saying they are going to deport me. They keep saying I am not a citizen, but won`t show me any documents to that effect.— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) August 29, 2014