Congressman Ellison Sends Letter to Secretary Kerry on Behalf of Maryam Al-Khawaja

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain welcomes a new letter released on Friday September 19th 2014 by Congressman Keith Ellison. Congressman Ellison, an avid supporter of human rights, wrote to Secretary of State John F. Kerry to draw his attention to the recent arrest of Maryam Al- Khawaja.  Although Ms. Al-Khawaja has been released from detention, Congressman Ellison is asking Secretary Kerry to urge the Bahraini government to drop all charges against Ms. Al-Khawaja immediately, including lifting the travel ban.

Ms. Al-Khawaja’s detention has been condemned by more than 155 civil society organizations in over 60 countries.  Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain would like to applaud and thank Congressman Ellison for his continued support on this issue.

The full-text of the letter is provided below. To view a PDF of Congressman Ellison’s letter to Secretary Kerry, click here.


September 19, 2014


The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Kerry:

I write to urge the Department of State to press the government of Bahrain to drop charges against Maryam Al-Khawaja and allow her to return home. On August 30ch Maryam, a prominent human rights activist, was detained at the airport in Manama while attempting to visit her father. Her arrest appears to be a coercive measure to deter her and others from their fight for human rights and democracy in the region.

Maryam A1-Khawaja, a Danish-Bahraini citizen, is the co-director ofthe Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), an independent non-profit that provides support and protection to human rights defenders in the Gulfregion. Ms. Al-Khawaja has been an advocate for human rights for decades. Her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a leading human rights activist, has been on a hunger strike in protest of arbitrary arrests and detentions in Bahrain.

Al-Khawaja’s detention has been condemned by more than 155 civil society organizations in over 60 countries. A group of independent United Nations experts has also called for Maryam’s release. We must continue our commitment to defend those who defend the human rights of others.

Dropping the charges and allowing Ms. Al-Khawaja to leave the country will be a good-faith effort signaling Bahrain’s desire to return to their commitment to improving human rights. I ask that you do all you can to help her release.


Keith Ellison