Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld Comments on Bahrain’s Arrest of Maryam al-Khawaja

In a piece for the Daily Beast, Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld comments on the implications of Bahrain’s recent arrest of human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja.

“The Maryam story is bigger than her,” said Cole Bockenfeld, advocacy director at the Project on Middle East Democracy. “These activists that come here risk their lives to do so and there’s an implicit assumption that a high level of interaction with the West and the United States gives them some sort of protection. Maryam’s arrest is a challenge to that.”

“If they can get away with expelling a senior State Department official with no consequences, then they think they can get away with anything and they don’t have to respond to the pressure,” said Bockenfeld. “It emboldens them to take a tougher line internally and they don’t feel they really have to concede much in terms of real reform.”

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