Bahraini woman faces trail after criticising family judges

// 2 June 2005

A women’s rights activist in Bahrain faces trial this weekend, and the possibility of 15 years in jail, for publically criticising family judges.

Ghada Jamsheer leads the Women’s Petition Committee, which campaigns for reform of Bahrain’s family law. She has been accused of three seperate counts of criticising family judges, and a criminal charge from the ex-husband of a divorced woman she helped.

Reuters reports that Human Rights Watch has urged the Bahraini government to drop the charges, calling the multiple lawsuits a “blatent attempt to silence her and undermine the reform efforts she spearheads”.

The courts, which deal with family cases such as divorce, marriage, custody and inheritance, follow no fixed statute, only the judge’s interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence.

Human Rights Watch say Ms Jamsheer has been targeted after reporting dozens of incidents of judges mishandling cases.

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