Leah Hyslop, The Telegraph
A US filmmaker who was trying to capture footage of the anti-government protests in Bahrain has been deported for immigration fraud.
In a statement released on Saturday, Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said that Seattle-based Jen Marlowe had lied to immigration officials about her reason for visiting.
“Upon arrival, she told immigration officials she came to help a friend who had recently had a baby, but investigation showed the names and addresses she gave were fabricated,” the statement read.
“While in Bahrain, she [had] been shooting a documentary film that requires a proper visa permitting one to work in the kingdom.”
Marlowe, who describes herself as a “human rights advocate”, told Telegraph Expat she had gone to Bahrain as part of the pro-democracy initiative Witness Bahrain, “to observe, document, and expose what is happening on the ground, and to stand in solidarity with the Bahraini people calling for democracy and respect for human rights”.
She admitted fabricating a cover story, but said it was the only way that she could expose what was happening in the country.
“There is an alarming pattern of human rights defenders and journalists being denied entry or being granted entry only under very limited conditions and for extremely short periods of time. If the government of Bahrain were not so intent on hiding the reality, it would not have been necessary for me to create a cover story,” she said.
Bahrain has been caught up in the wave of revolutionary protests sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, popularly dubbed the Arab Spring, since February last year.
There have been a number of reported cases of journalists having their access to the country limited, in what some claim is an attempt to stifle coverage of the uprising.
In February, the state denied entry to a number of non-sports reporters from news organisations including Reuters, The Financial Times and CNN during the Bahrain Grand Prix. A Channel 4 news team who entered the country without media visas during the period were deported after being caught filming a demonstration.