Correction: Zaynab al-Khawaja is a Danish, not Dutch, citizen.
“Bahrain is an island of sadness,” The Post's Marc Fisher writes in an extensive look at the Arab Spring. The small country now languishes in a kind of limbo: The royal family still retains control, but protests, albeit on a much smaller scale, continue. Many people have lost their trust in the government following its crackdown on earlier large demonstrations.
For government opponents, though, Wednesday dawned with news of a small victory. Zaynab al-Khawaja, one of the most outspoken critics of the Bahraini government, has been released from prison after five days.
Better known online as “Angry Arabiya,” Khawaja was arrested last week after refusing leave a roundabout on a highway. Though it is uncertain why she was released, some activists on Twitter say it may be due to residency issues. Khawaja is a Danish citizen and an online campaign was started to petition the Danish minister of foreign affairs, asking him to intervene.
Khawaja is the daughter of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is currently imprisoned in Bahrain. Her husband and uncle are also reportedly in jail.
On Tuesday, Angry Arabiya tweeted for the first time since her arrest. Though her supporters are hailing her release as a success, she tempered the news with reports of another political prisoner she left behind. As Fisher writes, “Nine months [after the start of the Bahraini revolution], in a country only slightly bigger than the District of Columbia, hopes are dashed, the uprising is crushed, and the royal family is still in charge — though deeply damaged by its own crackdown. Trust has been vaporized.”