Bahraini activist barred from boarding flight to Manama
British Airways has prevented prominent Bahraini activist, Maryam al-Khawaja, from boarding flight to Manama.
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The daughter of renowned rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja said, on her X account formerly known as Twitter, she was denied boarding the flight in London as she tried to return to Bahrain to press for her father’s release from prison.
She said the airline’s officials told her she should talk to Bahraini immigration authorities before boarding the flight.
“It’s incredibly disappointing, this may have been my last chance to see my dad,” she said in the video message, recorded in British Airways’ check-in area.
“Effectively we are being denied boarding by British Airways on behalf of the Bahraini government.”
The Manama regime said it welcomes all visitors, provided they meet the necessary entry requirements.
“However, as with other countries, Bahrain reserves the right to refuse entry, if deemed necessary,” the government said in a statement sent to the Reuters news agency.
Maryam said she would travel to Bahrain and risk her arrest because her father was denied access to urgent and critical medical treatment, part of the reason why he is on a hunger strike.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, also a Danish citizen, is a former president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and is serving a life sentence for his role in Bahrain’s pro-democracy protests in 2011.
A group of activists, who said they would join her, including Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard and Front Line Defenders’ Interim Director Olive Moore, were also denied boarding, she said.