Zainab al-Khawaja, daughter of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja
Zainab al-Khawaja, daughter of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja (L) with prominent activist Nabeel Rajab (R) (Reuters) Reuters

A Bahraini court has sentenced pro-democracy activist Zainab al-Khawaja, daughter of renowned human rights campaigner Abdulhadi, to two months in jail for ripping up a picture of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

"Usually sentences for such crimes are just fines," Zainab's lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters. He added that the activist should be freed in four days because she already spent 56 days in jail.

Zainab was arrested for her protest against King Hamad on 2 August, her fifth arrest in four months. She faces eight more charges related to her participation in the pro-democracy protests that have been raging across Bahrain since February 2011.

In an exclusive interview with IBTimes UK, her sister Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), recounted details of her unfair trial.

"During her trial her lawyer tried to use an extract from the BICI [Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry] report. The judge told the lawyer that the BICI report was a thing of the past and now we have to look towards the future," Maryam said.

A spokesperson for Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority told IBTimes UK that Zainab was arrested "for blocking a commercial and congested multi-lane road near the capital at night, obstructing the freedom of others, as well as endangering herself and others in the event of her causing an accident".

However these charges date back to Zainab's first arrest on 21 April 2012, when she staged a lone protest in the middle of the road.

"There's one video where she's sitting in a roundabout. That's not obstructing traffic, she's not even defying the law of gathering, she was by herself," Maryam replied.

"She got dragged, beaten, punched, slapped, handcuffed and dragged from the other side and put in their car.

"We believe that Zainab, Abdulhadi and Nabeel Rajab and all the human rights defenders who are targeted in Bahrain are targeted solely based on their human rights activities, not because they have actually committed a crime," she said.