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05 March 2011

Fawziya Janahi (1962–) lawyer

Janahi was raised in Bahrain. She went to university in Egypt where she had a roommate, also a Bahraini, who had obvious difficulties in being a woman, and in 2001 asked her, by then a qualified lawyer, to help. In 2005 the case was won and the ex-roommate was officially a man, and later married as a man.

Her second case was the Bahraini shot-put disabled athlete Hussain Rabie which concluded with success with 2008, and supported by fatwas from both Sunni and Shia Shariaa Courts.

This attracted media attention, and brought Janahi cases from all over the Gulf. The law is fairly straightforward in Bahrain, but more complicated in the other countries.

Janahi insists on a minimum two-year psychiatric evaluation, and is the only lawyer in the region taking such cases.

Previously Kuwaiti male lawyer Adel Yehya attempted some 13 similar cases but quit after they were rejected by the courts. Janahi was initially rejected by her family for taking such cases, but after some years they have come around to supporting her.

While the Bahraini government is supportive, other Gulf are more difficult. She has a journalist present when meeting her clients in some countries in case of police raids.

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