Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a Danish member of Parliament for Socialdemokratiet, has been detained at the airport in Bahrain for several hours and had his passport taken from him.
Rasmussen openly told the authorities at passport control in Bahrain that he was there to visit the jailed Danish citizen and political activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
“I played with open cards at the passport control and told them why I was there. Then I was told that I was a security risk and my passport was taken,” Rasmussen told DR Nyheder.
“I’ve tried to ask them why I’ve been detained, how I am a security risk and why I can’t have my passport. But I don’t get any answer and it’s obvious that the officers I speak to get their orders from elsewhere. So I don’t really know how long this is going to go on.”
Initially Rasmussen was placed in an empty room for a couple of hours, before being moved to another area where there was some water, tea and food.
According to Rasmussen, he has been detained at least six hours without his passport.
Rasmussen said that al-Khawaja was seriously ill in prison and the visit was intended to function as a form of political pressure to ensure the activist is given access to medication.
Al-Khawaja is a founder and former head of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights as well as the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He lived in Denmark for 12 years before returning to Bahrain in 2001.
It’s not the first time a Danish MP has been hindered going to Bahrain. In 2012, Søren Espersen (Dansk Folkeparti) was barred from entering the country because he had an Israeli stamp on his passport.