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Bahrain: Brave symbol of resistance Ayat al-Gormezi, detained, tortured, plus 1 yr behind bars PDF Print E-mail

London ~ Monday, 13 June 2011
Poet who became symbol of Bahrain resistance is jailed
By Patrick Cockburn

images/stories/AyatAlGormezi.jpg Poet Ayat al-Gormezi was detained after she took part in a protest rally and read out a poem appealing for democratic rights Scroll down to read the powerful words of Ayat al-Gormezi's Khalika [courtesy of "Jailed Reporters"]

The 20-year-old Bahraini poet Ayat al-Gormezi, who has become a symbol of resistance to repression on the island, was sentenced to one year in prison yesterday.

She was detained after she participated in a protest rally earlier this year and read out a poem appealing for democratic rights and criticising the monarchy. 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.

She was jailed yesterday by a security court without any legal argument or her lawyer being allowed to speak, said a family member present at the trial. Her brother, Yousif Mohammed, said by phone from Bahrain that her treatment in prison had improved in recent days, in contrast to the extreme mistreatment she received when she was first detained at the end of March.

He attributed the change in the authorities' behaviour to the international publicity given to her case. The family has lodged an appeal against the sentence.

In addition to Ayat's receiving a lower sentence than had been expected, there are signs that the Bahraini government may be having second thoughts about its all-out assault on those who supported the demonstrations demanding political rights which took place in February and the first half of March. The Sunni monarchy allowed a rally, which attracted 10,000 people, organised by the main opposition party al-Wifaq to take place on Saturday. A few weeks ago the government had considered banning al-Wifaq.

The opposition, most of whose supporters come from the Shia, Bahrain's majority Arab community, showed by the size of the turnout that they were not crushed. Crowds chanted "We are the winners" and "With our blood and soul we sacrifice for Bahrain" as security forces held back and helicopters flew overhead.

"We salute every mother who lived through the fear of having the door of her home kicked in by security forces," al-Wifaq's leader Ali Salman told the rally. "We have lived through black months."

All of al-Wifaq's 18 members of parliament have resigned in protest at the clampdown, during which many of those detained have complained that they were abused or tortured. At least 400 people are still imprisoned.

President Obama saw the Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa in Washington last week and asked Bahrain to respect free speech and the right to free assembly.


Jailed Reporters

Social Engineering Freedom of the Press June 19 2011

images/stories/AyatAlGormezi2.jpg Ayat al-Gormezi's poem: Khalifa

Hear me:
You, the elder,
the "good man", who "safeguards justice"
(so you have always declared),
if I were to make excuses for you,
I, for you, for the things you have done,
I would only look the fool,
for you would continue in your ways,
and murder us as "traitors".
Hear me:
Hear us all,
for we all demand likewise - both sects, all Bahrainis:
You must go.
Take His Majesty with you,
and leave your deeds behind.
You, oppressor,
from where do you derive your power,
the power to keep your people down? –
all your people,
even women
even children
even men.
Yet you call for "dialogue",
even in the midst of your brutality?
No! ...
No! ...
One word: No!
One demand:
Give us back our Bahrain.
Return this country to its people;
to us, its people.
Our Bahrain is ours.