Monday, June 13, 2011

Bahraini poet tortured and sentenced to one year in prison

Update: July 14, 2011

Bahraini regime releases Ayat Al-Qormezi, but does not revoke sentence

Video: Ayat al-Qormezi in a cheering crowd after the release


The Bahraini regime recently appointed Khalifa Al Dhahrani as the head of the national dialogue - the same Dhahrani who is said to be responsible for the sham investigations against many prominent political figures sympathetic to the opposition. The appointment followed the Bahraini crown prince's visit to Washington just a few days ago. This should be an eye opener to anyone still deluded by the rhetoric of reforms by the regime or the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the regime has continued its brutal suppression against the non-violent protesters using the weapons that were sold by U.S. companies with the approval of the U.S. government.

Just yesterday, the regime's military court sentenced the brave poet, Ayat Al Qormezi, to one year in prison.

Ayat Al-Qormezi, a 20-year-old poet and trainee at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain was arrested two months ago for reading out a passionate poem at a freedom rally.

"We are the people who kill humiliation and assassinate misery," she told a massive crowd of protesters in the famous Pearl Square in February. "We are the people who use peace to destroy the foundation of injustice."

Addressing Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa directly, she said: "Don't you hear their cries, don't you hear their screams?"

Toward the end of her poem, she prayed: “The Sunni and Shia are brothers. God care for them all!”

As she finished, the crowd shouted: "Down with Hamad!"

A few days later the Bahraini security forces raided her house, but did not find her. She was forced to give herself up when the forces threatened to kill her four brothers one by one in front of her parents.

Ayat has not been by her family since then. She did speak to her mother once on the phone. “During her detention she was whipped across the face with electric cable, held for nine days in a tiny cell with the temperature near freezing, and was forced to clean lavatories with her bare hands.” (The Independent, June 11 and 13, 2011). Later, it was found out that she was in a military hospital due to injuries from the torture.

On June 12, she was sentenced to one year in prison.

According to The Independent, “The details of her interrogation and imprisonment are similar to the experiences of other women detained by Bahraini security forces since they launched a full scale repression on 15 March…” (June 11, 2011)

Moreover, despite the lifting of martial law on June 1, 'some 600 people are still detained, at least 2,000 have been sacked, and more than 27 mosques have been bulldozed.' (June 2, 2011)