Insulting the King – Crushing Oppostional Voices and Bahrain's Roller-coaster Scourage of Injustice

Bahrain: A Poet And A Journalist: Latest 2 Victims Of Criminalizing Freedom Of Expression Under The Pretext Of Insulting The King
16 February, 2014 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern for the continued criminalization of freedom of opinion and expression in Bahrain under implausible pretexts such as the charge of ‘insulting the King’. In this context, the poet Ayat Al-Qurmuzi was interrogated regarding one of her poems, and the journalist Abbas Al-Murshid was summoned to court.

On 3 February 2014, the Bahraini poet Ayat Al-Qurmuzi (23 years old) was summoned for interrogation at the Central Governorate Police Station regarding a poem[i] she recited on 24 January 2014 at an opposition rally in the area of Sitra. The poet said that the interrogators, who were a male and a female police officers had asked her about the ‘meanings of the verses and people or bodies intended by them’, while no name, person or body was mentioned in the poem which generally addressed injustice.[ii] The lawyer was not permitted access to the interrogation room although she was present at the police station. The poet was charged with two accusations ‘insulting the King and incitement to hatred against the ruling regime’ before she was released and after signing a pledge to appear before the police station upon request and with referring the case to the Public Prosecution. Worth mentioning, the complaint against the poet Ayat Al-Qurmuzi came as an order from the Office of the Deputy of Public Security.

The Bahraini poet Ayat Al-Qurmuzi had faced arrest in March 2011 on the background of the poems she recited amid the public gathering in Pearl Roundabout in February 2011, she was sentenced to a year in prison in June 2011 by a military trial, however she was released in July in 2011 under massive pressure from human rights organizations. Al-Qurmuzi stated after her release that she was subjected to torture[iii] and maltreatment during her arrest by officers, one of them is a member of the ruling family named Noura Al-Khalifa. Although a show trial had taken place for the officer Noura Al-Khalifa on the charge of ‘assaulting the integrity of the body of (torturing) Ayat Al-Qurmuzi’ since 2012, yet a verdict has not been made in the case so far. …more

A young Bahraini woman who was arrested after reciting an anti-government poem to demonstrators in the Gulf kingdom said she was beaten, electrocuted and threatened with sexual assault while in custody. Miss al-Qurmezi, a member of the Shia majority who was at teacher training college when the protests began in February, was filmed reciting poems to a huge crowd at Pearl Roundabout, the epicentre of the demonstrations

Bahraini woman poet tells of torture while in custody
By Richard Spencer – 14 July, 2011

Ayat al-Qurmezi, 20, became one of the symbols of the protests that hit the centre of the Bahraini capital, Manama in February and March. After she was arrested, reports circulated that she had been whipped and even at one point raped and killed, leading to an improvement in her conditions and her release on Wednesday evening.

Greeted by a crowd of hundreds of people at her home, she told her family she had not been sexually assault but threatened as well as being electrocuted with clips attached to her face.

She also denied that she had committed treason by attacking the king, saying she wanted reform not revolution. “The demand isn’t to overthrow the regime, but we want a real constitutional monarchy,” she said to reporters.

Miss al-Qurmezi, a member of the Shia majority who was at teacher training college when the protests began in February, was filmed reciting poems to a huge crowd at Pearl Roundabout, the epicentre of the demonstrations.

One featured a conversation between Satan and King Hamad in which they outlined the complaints of the opposition, mostly Shia calling for the Sunni royal family and elite to share power. …more

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