Bahraini court jails daughter of imprisoned activist

DUBAI Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:14am EDT

Zainab al-Khawaja (C), daughter of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, takes part in a rally held in support of her father in the village of Bani-Jamra, west of Manama March 11, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Zainab al-Khawaja (C), daughter of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, takes part in a rally held in support of her father in the village of Bani-Jamra, west of Manama March 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

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DUBAI (Reuters) - The daughter of an imprisoned Bahraini activist was jailed for two months on Wednesday for tearing up a picture of the Gulf Arab state's king, her lawyer said.

Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shi'ite Muslim majority erupted last year and were put down by the Sunni rulers.

Zainab al-Khawaja, daughter of leading Shi'ite activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, was arrested at a protest in August that was dispersed by security forces using tear gas and birdshot.

Her defense lawyer called the sentence harsh.

"Usually sentences for such crimes are just fines," Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters by telephone from Manama.

Jishi said she faced eight more charges related to participating in protests. The next court hearing is on October 4.

Her father went on a hunger strike for more than three months earlier this year to protest against his imprisonment.

The ruling Al Khalifa family used martial law and help from Gulf neighbors to put down last year's uprising, but unrest has resumed.

Protesters and police clash almost daily and Washington has called on its ally to talk to the opposition.

Bahraini authorities accuse regional Shi'ite power Iran of encouraging the unrest and has vowed a tough response to violent protests as talks with the opposition have stalled.

Earlier this month, a Bahraini court upheld jail sentences of up to 25 years against leaders of last year's uprising.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Sami Aboudi and Matthew Tostevin)

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