Daughter of a long-detained human rights activist in Bahrain says she has cancer, urges his release

The daughter of a long-detained human rights activist in Bahrain said Monday she has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, and again called for her father’s release.

Maryam al-Khawaja also urged Denmark, where both al-Khawajas have citizenship, to do more to free her father, 62-year-old Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. She also asked Denmark to end arms sales to Israel and to push to halt fighting amid Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“I urge the Danish government to lead with its stated human rights values: to leverage its diplomatic power to release my father and decisively end all arm sales and demand a cease-fire in Gaza,” she said in a statement. “Only then, can all of our families finally be safely together.”

Bahrain, an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf that is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Al-Khawaja’s father, Abdulhadi, has faced a yearslong imprisonment on internationally criticized charges stemming from him leading 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations in Bahrain. Al-Khawaja was blocked last year from traveling to Bahrain with human rights activists to protest his continued detention.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes. While aggressive, it can be successfully treated. Al-Khawaja said she was already undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease.

BY: Nadeem Faisal Baiga