Blogger and human rights activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, who called Bahrain a dictatorship, was arrested Thursday during an anti-government protest in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
Al-Khawaja, 28, the daughter of Bahrain's most prominent political activist -- who, in June, was imprisoned for life with seven other opposition leaders -- was arrested late Thursday during a rally outside the capital, Manama, said Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Her arrest was confirmed by the government in a Friday statement, The Associated Press reported.
The statement by Bahraini officals said al-Khawaja was part of a large group of women gathering on a roundabout outside Manama. After the police broke up the demonstration, all but al-Khawaja had left the scene, authorities said.
A video allegedly depicting al-Khawaja's arrest shows a female officer handcuffing al-Khawaja before another female officer appears to punch her in the face as she sits in the center of a traffic circle, the AP wrote.
Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority said al-Khawaja was taken into custody for her role in a larger illegal gathering in a busy roundabout on one side of the main roads outside Manama.
In the process of getting her into the police vehicle, al-Khawaja resisted arrest by laying down and female officers had to physically remove her from the site, the statement said, adding that police have referred her case to the public prosecutor.
The rally started on Thursday near the opposition stronghold of Diraz and other Shiite villages west of the capital. A statement by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said Bahraini security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition supports attempting to protest alongside a highway leading to Manama.
In addition to herself and her father, al-Khawaja has three other male relatives that have been convicted in court and imprison during Bahrain's uprising. They are her uncle, her brother-in-law and her husband, the father of her 2-year-old daughter.