Khawaja is Prevented from Leaving the Country

Human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja failed to attend a court hearing on 08 February 2009. The hearing was held after his controversial statements on 06 January 2009, in which he was alleged to incite against the regime and call for its overthrow. Ms. Bushra Almayoof, Khawaja's lawyer who attended the hearing said that her client did not attend due to 'private reasons' without giving further clarification, assuring he would attend the next one. Based on this, the trial was adjourned to 09 March 2009 and the judge has ordered that Khawaja be informed of the date of the next hearing. On 09 February 2009, Khawaja was planning to travel to Iraq, but was surprised to find he had been banned from leaving the country on the Public Prosecutor's orders as there is currently a case filed against him, which necessitates his presence in the country.

The Bahrain Human Rights Centre (which was dissolved by court order, following government request in November 2004 for its violation of the law, according to the government) issued a statement noting Khawaja's ban, and described the charges against him as 'illogical'. The Centre also anticipated that Khawaja's trial will be unjust and has called for the immediate lifting of the ban as well as the dropping of all charges against him.