Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Interview with Ayat


'Bahraini royal family tortures detainees'


This article was published yesterday on PressTV
Bahraini poetess Ayat al-Qurmezi says some members of the ruling Al Khalifa family have personally tortured anti-regime protesters in jails.

"There is no doubt about the government's official supervision over the torture, even some members of the ruling family personally take part in torturing detainees," she said in an interview with Al-Alam news channel on Wednesday. 

Al-Qurmezi noted that some detainees have been killed under torture. 

She was arrested on March 30 after being caught on film reading poems critical of Bahrain's ruling regime to a group of protesters at Pearl Square in the capital Manama. 

The 20-year-old poetess was released on July 13, but her sentence has not been revoked. She is currently under house arrest. 

She said that beating and electronic shocks are the most common ways of torturing in Bahrain's prisoners. 

In the latest development on Wednesday, Bahraini forces once again attacked peaceful protesters in several villages and towns surrounding the capital including Nuwaidrat, Sanabis, Eker, and Sitra. 

Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations across the country since mid-February, calling on the Al Khalifa ruling family to relinquish power.

Poet's prison torture claim to be investigated by Bahraini officials

Published today in the Independent by Patrick Cockburn
Allegations of torture against the Bahraini security forces made by the student poet Ayat al-Gormezi in an interview with The Independent are to be investigated by a special committee of the Interior Ministry.
Ms Gormezi had described how for nine days she was punched and beaten with a baton and electric cable so severely that she lost consciousness. She was threatened with rape or sexual molestation, kept in a freezing cell and forced to clean a lavatory with her bare hands. She says she was told by prison guards that one of those beating her was a woman member of the royal al-Khalifa family.
Ms Gormezi's family said she was called to give a statement to the committee set up by the Interior Minister in response to the article in The Independent yesterday about how she was treated in prison after her detention on 30 March.
She had read out to a rally a poem critical of the monarchy at the height of the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in February and March. These were ended by a brutal government crack down starting on 15 March.
Many of those detained have said they were tortured and forced to give false confessions, saying they were part of an Iranian-orchestrated conspiracy to overthrow the Bahrain monarchy.
After nine days Ms Gormezi was transferred to another prison where she was kept in solitary confinement and given medication so her injuries would be less apparent. She was then transferred to a general wing of the prison where physical mistreatment did not take place. She was unexpectedly released last week, though she has not been pardoned and was asked to sign an agreement not to take part in any protests.
International protests and ensuing bad publicity for the Bahraini monarchy led to her treatment in prison improving, according to her family.
Ms Gormezi was brought before a court on 12 June and sentenced to one year in prison, a shorter sentence than her family had feared. Last week she was called to an office in the prison and told she was to be released on the condition that she should not take part in other protests.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

(رمز الصمود البحريني (آيات القرمزي


وتستمر سلسلة الانتصارات الاعلامية وحديثنا يتجدد عن الشاعرة البحرينية آيات القرمزي ابنة العشرين ربيعاً وهي طالبة في كلية المعلمين تم فصلها تعسفياً وتعذيبها لالقائها القصائد أمام حشود المتظاهرين المناصرين للديمقراطية .

الشاعرة آيات القرمزي هي فعلاً صوت الثورة ورمز الصمود في البحرين ، يستلهم منها الشعب البحريني صموده وقوته في وجه الظالمين والجلّادين ، حيث نكست رؤوسهم في الوحل وجعلتهم يحققون مع جلاديها وإن كأن الأمر مجرد تحقيق شكلي ،المهم هنا أنها غلبت كل جلاديها ومعذبيها بأن فضحتهم عالمياً وبات القارئ لقصتها يندهش حقاً لمدى قوتها وصمودها وتحديها لإجرام هذه العصابة المستأثرة بالسلطة في البحرين ،و رغم تهديدهم لها قبل الافراج عنها من التحدث عن ضربها وتعذيبها داخل السجون الخليفية إلا أنني أظن انهم لا يستطيعون لمس شعرة واحدة منها بعد الآن ،فهم صنعوا منها قنبلة إعلامية ذات موهبة شعرية سمع ذويها العالم بأسره ،إنها بحق مصدر فخر للبحرينيين وجميع مناهضي الظلم . (إن الله مع الصابرين) ، و(إنهم يألمون كما تألمون وترجون من الله ما لا يرجون) نعم ،فالشعب البحريني هو شعب مؤمنٌ محتسبٌ لا يبتعد عن ذكر الله وهذا أمر جلي لمن يحتك بها الشعب المتماسك والذي خرج وملئ فمه وضميره هذا الدعاء :(اللهم انا نرغب اليك في دولة كريمة تعز بها الاسلام واهله وتذل بها النفاق واهله وتجعلنا فيها من الدعاة الى طاعتك والقادة الى سبيلك وترزقنا بها كرامة الدنيا والاخرة) ولن يهدأ ولن يستكين حتى يحقق أمنيته ويتقرب بها لبارئه عز وجل ،فنعم الشعب هذا الشعب ونعم الصمود صمودكِ يا آيات .الجدير بالذكر أن آل خليفة العائلة المستأثرة بالسلطة منذ حوالى 230 عام حاولت رفع قضية على "الانديبندنت" الصحيفة البريطانية الشهيرة و على وجه الخصوص الصحفي العالمي الشهير روبرت فيسك ،لمقالات وتقارير كان لها الأثر الكبير لإيصال صوت الثورة البحرينية بحقيقته السلمية الجميلة ومقابلة السلطة المجرمة بحملات القتل والتنكيل والتعذيب ،حتى ان 4 بحرينيين قد استشهدوا داخل سجون السلطة سيئة الصيت ،وفي المقابل لم تنجح السلطة باسكات الصحيفة البريطانية ،ولا حتى بارجاع سمعة العائلة الحاكمة الذي باتت ممرغة بالوحل جراء الهجوم الاعلامي "الحر". حركة المعارضة الشعبية القوية وضمنها "الوفاق الجمعية السياسية الأبرز" ،التي لم تترك الشارع بدخولها ما يسمى منتدى الحوار الوطني ،وذلك بتنظيمها تجمعات أسبوعية حاشدة بدأت بعد انتهاء "قانون الاحكام العرفية" ،وبعد تنفيذ تهديدها بانسحابها من الحوار منذ يومين ،ووصف وزير الخارجية السويدي في صفحته الشخصية "تويتر " : انسحاب الوفاق من الحوار الوطني في البحرين مقلق، والحوار لا ينبغي ان يكون "مونولوج" . وطرحت الوفاق منظورها بحكومة منتخبة ودائرة انتخابية واحدة مع برلمان كامل الصلاحيات الرقابية والتشريعية .

من جهة أخرى ،اتجه ائتلاف 14 من فبراير إلى تنظيم اعتصامات سلمية مركزية بشكل اسبوعي في مناطق مختلفة تحمل عنوان "حق تقرير المصير" وتشهد مشاركة شعبية واسعة النطاق ،ولكن هذه الاعتصامات شهدت قمع شديد من قبل السلطة حتى ان مسلسل القتل لم يتوقف ،فاختنقت زينب آل جمعة في جزيرة سترة بسبب الافراط في استخدام مسيلات الدموع والابخرة السامة ،وتتعمد مرتزقة السلطة القائها على المنازل

Monday, 18 July 2011

Take Action: call on Bahraini authorities to annul Ayat's conviction

Amnesty INTERNATIONAL

A Bahraini poet sentenced in June for reading a poem was released on 13 July. However, there are reportedly conditions attached to her release and Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to remove any that have been imposed, to annul her conviction and to clarify her current legal status.

Further Information on UA 179/11: Index: MDE 11/039/2011 Bahrain Date: 15 July 2011 Date: 14 January 2011
URGENT ACTION
bahraini poet RELEASED
A Bahraini poet sentenced in June for reading a poem was released on 13 July However, there are reportedly conditions attached to her release and Amnesty I nternational is calling on the authorities to remove any that have been imposed , to annul her conviction and to clarify her current legal status.
Ayat al-Qarmezi, a poet and university student at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain, sentenced to one year in prison for reading a poem, was released on 13 July. Shortly after her release Amnesty International talked to her lawyer and family, who said that Ayat was well and happy to be free. However, her release is reportedly conditional on not travelling outside Bahrain or speaking to the media about her detention. The Military Prosecutor said that her release was at the request of the lawyer. The family received a phone call from a police station in ‘Issa Town asking them to pick up Ayat on 13 July, but without providing any further information on Ayat’s current legal status.
In February, while attending a pro-reform rally in Manama, Ayat al-Qarmezi read out one of her poems, which she said was addressed to the King of Bahrain. Its lyrics include the lines “We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery / Don’t you hear their cries, don’t you hear their screams?” Ayat al-Qarmezi was forced to turn herself over to the authorities on 30 March and was sentenced on 12 June by Bahrain’s National Safety Court of First Instance – a military court – to one year in prison for taking part in illegal protests, disrupting public security and inciting hatred towards the regime. Ayat alleges she was beaten and tortured with electric shocks while she was imprisoned and held in solitary confinement for the first 15 days of her detention.
Amnesty International considered Ayat a prisoner of conscience and called for her immediate and unconditional release and for charges against her to be dropped.
Please write immediately in English or Arabic :
Welcoming Ayat al-Qarmezi’s release but urging the authorities to clarify her legal status and to remove any conditions that have been attached to her release, as well as any other limitations currently imposed on her liberty, freedom of movement, expression, association and assembly;
Urging the authorities also to annul her conviction and to drop any pending charges against her;
Urging the authorities to immediately set up a full, independent and impartial investigation into her allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, to make its results public and to bring to justice anyone responsible for such acts;
Urging the authorities to respect and uphold the rights to freedom expression, movement and assembly in Bahrain, including the right to peaceful protest.
P LEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 SEPTEMBER 2011 TO :
King
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587
Salutation: Your Majesty
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 17531284
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Social Development and Human Rights
Dr. Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi
Ministry of Social Development and Human Rights
PO Box 32868, Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 17101955
Email: info@social.gov.bh
Salutation: Your Excellenc y
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 179/11. Further information: www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/031/2011/en

Poet jailed in protests claims she was beaten by Bahraini royal

Published today in the Independent by Patrick Cockburn

A female member of the al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain has been accused of repeatedly beating the 20-year-old student poet Ayat al-Gormezi when she was in prison accused of reciting a poem at a pro-democracy protest rally criticising the monarchy.
In an interview with The Independent, Ms Gormezi, who became a symbol of resistance to oppression in Bahrain, said that although her interrogators had tried to blindfold her, "I was able to see a woman of about 40 in civilian clothes who was beating me on the head with a baton". Ms Gormezi later described her interrogator to prison guards, who, she said, promptly named the woman as being one of the al-Khalifas with a senior position in the Bahraini security service.
"I was taken many times to her office for fresh beatings," Ms Gormezi said. "She would say, 'You should be proud of the al-Khalifas. They are not going to leave this country. It is their country.' "
The guards explained that it wasnot her regular job, but she had volunteered to take part in questioning political detainees.
Ms Gormezi was detained on 30 March at her parents' house after spending two weeks in hiding when the government, backed by a Saudi-led force, started a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in mid-March. She had been targeted by the authorities after she read out a poem at a rally in February which contained the lines: "We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery. We are the people who will destroy injustice."
Addressing King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa directly, she said of the Bahraini people: "Don't you hear their cries? Don't you hear their screams?" As she finished speaking the crowd roared: "Down with Hamad!"
Subjected to nine days of torture after her detention, Ms Gormezi described how she was beaten across the face with electric cables, kept in a tiny, freezing cell and forced to clean lavatories with her bare hands. All the while, she was beaten on the head and the body until she lost consciousness. "Many of the guards were Yemenis and Jordanians," she said. The recruitment of members of the Bahraini security forces from foreign Sunni states is one of the grievances of Bahrain's Shia majority, which says it is excluded from such jobs.
In a phone interview after her release, Ms Gormezi said she does not regret reading her poem in Pearl Square, the centre of Bahrain's democratic protests in February and March. "What I said was not a personal attack on the King or the Prime Minister but I was just expressing what the people want. I have written poetry since I was a child, but not about politics. I did not think it was dangerous at the time. I was just expressing my opinion."
After the crackdown on protesters in Bahrain started in mid-March, the tall monument in Pearl Square was demolished and even the Bahraini coin showing it was withdrawn. Anybody supporting the protests was in danger of detention and torture. Ms Gormezi's family sent her to stay with relatives, which she "did not want to do. But after two weeks the security forces threatened my family and I had to give myself up. As I was taken away in a car, my family were told to pick me up at a police station the following day, so they thought it was not serious".
Her mistreatment started immediately. She said: "There were four men and one woman in the car, all wearing balaclavas. They beat me and shouted 'you are going to be sexually assaulted! This is the last day of your life!'" They also made anti-Shia remarks. "I was terrified of being sexually assaulted or raped, but not of being beaten."
The vehicle she was in, escorted by the army and police, did not immediately go to the interrogation centre but drove around Bahrain. Another woman, whom Ms Gormezi said was a member of the teachers' organisation, was arrested and put in the boot of the car. Eventually, it reached the interrogation centre, which evidently doubled as a prison. Ms Gormezi said the beatings never stopped: "Once they told me to open my mouth and spat in it." The first night she was put in a tiny cell. "It smelled awful and I could not sleep because of the screams of a man being tortured in the next cell."
The second night she was placed in another cell with the two vents for air conditioning producing freezing air. She was taken out for regular beatings. "I was very frightened," she said. "But I did not think they would kill me because every time I lost consciousness from the beatings, they called a doctor."
Surprisingly, for the first four or five days, the interrogators did not ask Ms Gormezi about reading out her poem in Pearl Square. They abused the Shia in general, saying they were "bastards" and not properly married (the accusation stems from the Shia institution of temporary marriage and is often used as an insult by Sunnis).
"When they did ask me about the poem, they kept saying: 'Who asked you to write it? Who paid you to write it?'" Ms Gormezi said. They insisted she must have been ordered to do so by Shia leaders in Bahrain or was a member of a political group, which she denies.
The interrogators also kept saying she must owe allegiance to Iran. An obsessive belief that Shia demands for equal rights in Bahrain must be orchestrated by Tehran has long been a central feature of Sunni conspiracy theorists. "They kept asking me: 'Why are you loyal to Iran? Why are you not loyal to your own country?'" Ms Gormezi said. "I said it was nothing to do with Iran. I am a Bahraini and I was only trying to express what the people want."
After nine days in the interrogation centre, Ms Gormezi was taken to a second prison in Isa town in Bahrain. For a week she was in solitary confinement and was given medication so the signs of her beatings were less visible. She was then taken to a more general prison where physical mistreatment stopped and there were four other women. "After 16 days they let me talk to my family," she said. "It was meant to be for three minutes but they let me talk for 10. Once they took me back to the first interrogation centre to record a video apologising to the King."
International protests and ensuing bad publicity for the Bahraini monarchy led to her treatment improving, according to her family. Ms Gormezi was brought before a court on 12 June and sentenced to one year in prison, a shorter sentence than her family had feared. Last week she was called to an office in the prison and told she was to be released on the condition that she should not take part in other protests.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

BBC Arabic: Report on Ayat's release

Video report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/multimedia/2011/07/110715_bahrain_prisoner.shtml

البطلة آيات القرمزي هزمت النظام البحریني

Published on ABNA, by Abbas Al Omran
و وفقاً لما افادته وكالة اهل البيت(ع) للانباء - ابنا - قال عضو مركز البحرين لحقوق الانسان "عباس العمران" من لندن : ان حوار البلطجية الذي دعى اليه النظام هو ليس الا التفافاً عن مطالب الشعب والضغوطات الدولية لقلع هذا النظام من جذره والخوف من الوقوع في نفس المصير الذي اخذ حسني مبارك اليه.
كما ان النظام يسعى للتهرب من استحقاق الشعب المشروع ونظراً الى خطاب سماحة الشيخ عيسى القاسم حينما ينتقد ماطرح في هذا الحوار من آلياته المثيرة للتاجيج الطائفي وعمليات التهميش للغالبية الشيعية في المجتمع البحريني فكل تلك المستجدات تؤكد ان الشعب لن يتراجع عن موقفه وهو مصمم ومصر على مطالبه المشروعة والسعي للنيل منها وكل هذه المحاولات الترقيعية تعد فخوخ وعكرات تضعها السلطات امام الشعب لتغيير ارادة الشعب وبالتالي خطاب آيت الله "الشيخ عيسى القاسم " ياتي في سياقه الصحيح وفي وقته المناسب .
اما بالنسبة للتجمعات التي يدعوا اليها ثوار 14فبراير ومنها ما اطلق عليه تجمع حق تقرير المصير والذي اوفده حشد كبير من الجماهير من اهالي منطقة سترة ومناطق مختلفة من البحرين التي تضامنت معهم ثم تبعتها عملية المواجهات في جميع انحاء السترة وهذا الحضور النوعي والكمّي ويدل بالاصرار على التواجد بالرغم من استخدام الغازات الخانقة واطلاق النيران وغيرها من وسائل القمع التي تستخدمه السلطة ضد الشعب واثبت بان الشباب صامدون.
اما النظام الخليفي الذي حاول ان يصور للعالم بان وضع البحرين مستقر وبالذات بعد ما اطلق مشاريعه السياسية الفاشلة غير انه سيلاقي نفس المطالبات الملحة بعد ان واجه الشباب في الميادين.
وهكذا بقي آل خليفة على علم تام بان من يقرر بالشان البحريني هم الذين يقفون في الساحات والميادين من ابناء الشعب البحريني والشعب يقرر وليس عائلة واحدة.
اما وضع انسحاب جمعية الوفاق من حوار البلطجية هذا امر متوقع لان هذا الحوار ليس الا خدعة واكذوبة .
ايضاً الوضع السياسي في البحرين لن يتاثر في دخول الوفاق في هذا الحوار او انسحابه ودخول الوفاق في الحوار هو امر شكلي والمهم هو تواجد الشباب في الميادين والاستمرار بممارسة الظغوطات على الجهات الدولية وبالذات ادانت النظام على تواجد الاحتلال السعودي في البحرين وهذه الامور التي اوصلت الثورة الى نتائج كبيرة من ضمنها الافراج عن بعض المعتقلين من المحاكم العسكرية مثل البطلة آيات القرمزي وغيرها من المحكومين كما ان الضغوطات التي يمارسها الشباب في الساحات والمختصين في حقوق الانسان في الخارج والنشطاء السياسيين قد فرضوا ارادتهم على النظام واجبرو ان يفرجوا عن المعتقلين وهذا يثبت بان هذا النظام ضعيف ويمكن هزمه بكل سهولة .
الانتهاكات التي تمارسها السلطات والاجندة المسيسة والفضائح التي كشفت واقع هذا النظام لن يمكن تغطيتها وايضاً استعراض عضلات الاجنبي على شعب مظلوم الذي سبب طرد ولي العهد من حفل الزفاف الملكي في بريطانيا خوفاً على سمعة الحكومة البريطانية وايضاً قضية المحاكم العسكرية وعدم السماح للجان تقصي الحقائق بالكشف عن انتهاكات السجون لاسیما على الطاقم الطبي التي تلتها ادانات واسعة دولية حيث اسقطت شرعية هذا النظام وستقوده الى محاكم دولية.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Amnesty slams 'conditional' release of Bahraini poet

Published today in the Gulf Times
Amnesty International yesterday slammed the conditions allegedly attached to the release of a Bahraini activist jailed for reading a poem at a pro-reform protest.

“Ayat al-Qarmezi, a poet and university student at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain, sentenced to one year in prison for reading a poem, was released on July 13,” the rights group said in a statement.

“Shortly after her release, Amnesty International talked to her lawyer and family, who said that Ayat was well and happy to be free. However, her release is reportedly conditional on not travelling outside Bahrain or speaking to the media about her detention,” it said.

“Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to remove any that have been imposed, to annul her conviction and to clarify her current legal status,” the statement said.

Qarmezi read a poem addressed to Bahrain’s King Hamad at a February protest in the capital Manama. “We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery / Don’t you hear their cries, don’t you hear their screams?” it said. 

Telephonic interview with Ayat

Exclusive telephonic interview with Ayat, by Press TV, she describes some of the torture she had to face while in prison: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/189205.html

Bahraini poetess confirms torture

Published today on Press TV 
A young Bahraini pro-democracy poetess just released from jail and placed under house arrest says she was mentally and physically tortured by male and female officers while in jail.

“They beat me [for] nine days, morning and afternoon and at night… they beat me a lot, a lot, a lot. More than one person beat me at the same time, man and woman,” said Ayat al-Qurmezi in an exclusive phone interview with Press TV on Friday.

Recounting her bitter experience while jailed by the Saudi-backed Bahraini regime, Qurmezi, hailed as 'freedom poet,' told Press TV that her interrogator and prison guards did not allow her to use a bathroom and used very offensive and derogatory language against herself and her parents.

She confirmed that her jailers also threatened to kill her and to hurt her family, adding that she was forced to make confessions, as the only way for “the king to forgive me” and to be saved from the beatings, verbal abuse and other forms of torture.

Qurmezi, however, stated that despite repeated threats by Bahraini authorities that she would be returned to jail if she speaks to any media outlets, she was not afraid and would continue to speak the words of the Bahraini people.

Al-Qurmezi was arrested on March 30 for reciting anti-government poetry in the capital of Manama's Pearl Square.

She was then charged with incitement and insulting members of the royal family and handed a one-year jail term.

On Thursday, the 20-year-old said she had faced house arrest in exchange for freedom, but vowed to continue her freedom-seeking campaign.

“And I won't be afraid because of a paper I signed,” Qurmezi said, referring to a pledge she had signed not to violate the terms of her arrest, join protests and speak to the media.

Further, her family says she was forced by her jailors to clean filthy lavatories with her bare hands.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Apparently not on house arrest

Latest news from Ayat's brother: he affirms that Ayat has not been put on house arrest

Bahrain puts freed poet on house arrest

Published today on Al Jazeera


Ayat al-Qurmozi's unexpected release comes against a backdrop of halting government-opposition talks in the Gulf state.


The Bahraini government has released a Shia Muslim poet who was sentenced last month to one year in prison for reciting a poem critical of the country's ruling family.


Ayat al-Qurmozi, 20, returned home on Thursday after being unexpectedly released from prison. She remains under house arrest, however.


She is one of roughly 200 people released this week, some after months in prison, according to human rights groups in Bahrain.


The poem that led to her incarceration mocked the ruling Al Khalifa family and called for the king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to step down.


"I hope Bahrain can move away from the crisis to a transition into a better future, without discrimination or sectarianism," al-Qurmozi told the Reuters news agency.


Al-Qurmozi has claimed that she was beaten while in prison. She also said that she had to promise not to attend protests or speak with the media as a condition of her release.


"I'm not afraid to speak out though. I have something to say and I won't be afraid because of a paper I signed," she said.


An uncertain dialogue


A "national dialogue" between the government and the opposition continues in Manama, but many Shias are uneasy about participating in the talks.


The national dialogue was called last month and focuses on four main areas: politics, the economy, social issues and human rights.


The Wefaq party, the largest formal opposition group in Bahrain, decided at the last minute to enter into negotiations.


But members of Wefaq walked out of a discussion earlier this week after a Sunni Muslim MP called them "heretics" and accused them of coming from Iran.


Meanwhile, scattered protests continue in predominantly Shia villages across Bahrain, and dozens of protesters remain jailed - including eight who were sentenced last month to life terms.

Video Report After Ayat's Release

By euronews
http://www.euronews.net/2011/07/14/bahrain-frees-young-dissident-poet/

Bahrain frees young dissident poet

Published today in Euro News


Authorities in Bahrain have freed 200 political prisoners, including a young woman poet jailed for severely criticising the crown prince during pro-democracy protests.
Twenty year old Ayat al-Qurmizi was jailed for 12 months after reading her anti-monarchist poem in public in Manama earlier this year.
The release of prisoners comes less than two weeks after talks between opposition and pro-government groups began.
After leaving jail to a rapturous welcome, al-Qurmizi said: “I honestly didn’t expect things to be like this outside. In prison we hardly got any news and we very rarely heard what was going on outside. Sometimes family members would feed us information, but I didn’t expect it to be like this.”
Just two days ago, leaders of the main Shi-ite opposition party threatened to pull out of the new-found dialogue claiming serious reforms were unlikely to emerge from the talks.
Bahrain’s Sunni rulers clamped down hard on the pro-democracy demonstrations drawing criticism from the west.

Bahraini woman poet tells of torture while in custody

Published today in The Telegraph, by Richard Spencer

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.

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.

Bahrain releases poet who became a symbol of resistance to the regime

Published today in The Independent, by Patrick Cockburn

The 20-year-old Bahraini poet Ayat al-Gormezi, jailed and tortured for reading a poem critical of the government at a pro-democracy rally, has been suddenly released – though her sentence has not been revoked.
The international outcry over the mistreatment of the student, who became a symbol of resistance to the crackdown in the island, probably led the government to free her.
After being initially beaten across the face, she had been lashed with electric cables, kept in a near freezing cell and forced to clean police lavatories with her hands, though her treatment in prison had improved recently.
Ayat was greeted by cheering crowds in her neighbourhood near Hamad town outside the capital after her unexpected release.
Her family say they are delighted that she is free although they are worried about her future. They fear that she might be re-arrested, as she has not been pardoned and her release was not the result of an appeal against her one-year sentence.
At the height of the pro-democracy protests in Pearl Square in February, Ayat had recited a poem addressed to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa that included the lines: "We will kill humiliation and assassinate misery. Don't you hear their cries? Don't you hear their screams?"
She was arrested in March after being forced to give herself up when security forces threatened to kill her brothers if she did not do so.
At first her family did not know what had happened to her and endured additional mental torture when pictures of their missing daughter began to appear on dating websites.
Government repression since mid-March has been extremely severe, and hospital doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters have been tortured and forced to confess that they were part of an armed conspiracy against the monarchy, that had been backed by Iran.
A Saudi-led military force moved into the island, and mosques and other religious meeting places belonging to the Shia majority were bulldozed and destroyed on the grounds that they did not have building permission.
There are limited signs that the release of Ayat is more than an attempt to defuse international criticism of human rights abuses in Bahrain.
The king has called for a dialogue on reforms, and the country's main opposition group, al-Wifaq, representing the Shia majority, has now decided at the last minute to enter into discussions with King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Earlier this week al-Wifaq walked out of a meeting on Bahrain's controversial naturalisation laws under which they accuse the Sunni rulers of naturalising Sunnis in a bid to change Bahraini demographics. The walk out happened after a Sunni representative called the Shia heretics, implying they had come from Iran.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Facebook Group: Congratulating Ayat on her release

 http://www.facebook.com/AAyat.mabrok?sk=photos, Like this and post a comment!

Sharing the joy

Distributing sweets in celebration of Ayat Al Gormezi's return to her home, family and friends!


With you till the end...

Welcome back Ayat!


In celebration... (photos)






A message from the revolutions hero

The hero salutes us

Bahraini Poet Released (Associated Press)

Published in Winnipeg Free Press, today, by the Associated Press
MANAMA, Bahrain - A Bahraini woman, jailed for reciting poems critical of Gulf kingdom's rulers during a wave of protests earlier this year, was released from prison on Wednesday, her brother said.
Ayat al-Qurmezi, 20, became a minor celebrity among protesters after reciting poems critical of Bahrain's king and prime minister in the capital's Pearl Square, which was the hub for Shiite-led demonstrations that broke out in February.
One verse, addressed to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, included the lines: "We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery. Don't you hear their cries? Don't you hear their screams?"
Al-Qurmezi was detained in March during a raid on her family house. Last month she was convicted of anti-state crimes in a special security tribunal and sentenced to a year in prison as part of the Sunni rulers' crackdown on Shiite-led uprising.
Al-Qurmezi's brother, Youssef, told The Associated Press that his sister was released on Wednesday. He did not know if charges against her were dropped.

A hero in the midst of us... (video)

Free bird (Quotes)

"Her words knew no prison walls, she has always been free..." 
Mohammed AlMaskati - aka, @emoodz
"Ayat... with your words ur words u made a whole country fall in love with you. With ur sacrifices u made us all stronger. We love u ya ba6alla" 
Zainab Al Khawaja - aka, @angryarabiya
"If I had written and recited a poem as powerful as Ayat's, and gotten killed for it, I would die happy" 
Abdul Hadi Al-Khawaja
"Ayat Al Qarmazi's release is welcome, but she should have never been jailed in the first place" 
Amnesty UK Media -aka @NewsFromAmnesty

Celebrating her return (photos)






In celebration of her return (photos)

Gathering in Sadad to welcome her back

Large police presence in celebration of Ayat's release in Sadad (Picture from emoodz)

Back with her family!

Ayat's been released...

Written by Kareem Al Mahroos on Facebook


أيات القرمزي الشاعرة التي خذلها ادباء العرب فلم ينصورها فنصرها شعبها وحيدا، وصمدت صمود الابطال حتى قهرت سجانيها ومن خلفهم رؤوس هي اقرب للسقوط ان شاء الله تعالى .. تجربتنا في الثورة كانت مريرة ولكنها علمتنا ان نعتمد على سواعدنا ان قل الناصر والمعين .. ها قد تنازل وركع آل خليفة فافرجوا عنها ولم يوفوا بوعدهم الذي قطعوه بالانتقام منها ومن قصيدتها ومن اجواء النهضة التي احتضنت نتاجها الادبي.

RELEASED!

After imprisonment, repetitive torture and false allegations, Ayat was released a few hours ago, her brother told us.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ayat in the House of Lords

This poster was placed in the House of Lords during a press conference with Lord Avebury with the title 'Bahrainis deserve a better regime'


Leaked through the bars - part 4

Click on the image for a clearer and magnified view

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Leaked through the bars - part 3

Artists Speak Out

By Philip Bishop, Artists Speak Out 
Artists Speak Out has started a petition on Change.org urging the United States to make a public statement calling for the release of Ayat al-Gormezi. You can find it here: http://ow.ly/5yTfI 

Ayat's only crime was writing and reading a poem critical of the ruling regime in Bahrain -- a regime who then arrested, tortured and imprisoned her. Ayat is a 20 year-old student-teacher.

The text of the petition is below.

Please rally your support to this cause and have them sign the petition.

Here is the text of a tweet you can use: 

Sign petition urging US to make a public statement calling for the release of #Bahrain's "Freedom #Poet" #Ayat http://ow.ly/5yTfI

Thank you.

Philip Bishop
Artists Speak Out
--------------------------------- 

US: Call for the Immediate Release of Bahrain's Imprisoned "Freedom Poet"

We the signatories of this petition call upon the United States' highest-ranking diplomat in Bahrain, Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Williams, to make a public statement calling for the immediate release of 20 year-old poet Ayat al-Gormezi who had a one-year prison sentence unjustly imposed on her 12 June 2011 for reading a poem.

Bahrain’s National Safety Court of First Instance claimed in sentencing Ayat that she was guilty of “inciting hatred of the regime and of being involved in a rally to commit crimes.” Masked police arrested Ayat at her home on 30 March for reciting a poem critical of the monarchy during a pro-democracy rally in the capital Manama in February.

Media reports indicate that since being in custody Ayat, a student teacher, has been beaten across the face with an electric cable, spent nine days in a tiny cell with the air conditioning turned to freezing, and was forced to clean with her bare hands toilets just used by police. Almost certainly as a result of this brutal treatment, Ayat on 21 June 2011 made a televised apology to the Bahraini king and prime minster for what she had said and done.

No crime deserves such debasing and inhumane treatment -- and certainly not the "crime" of reciting a poem, no matter how critical it is of the ruling government or its leader. The United States must stand firmly on the side of free speech and the just treatment of detainees in this matter. There is also serious concern that Ayat may face additional charges and be returned to the prison where her abusive interrogation took place. In light of these grave developments, we call on Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Williams and the US government to make a public statement demanding that the Bahaini government comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the norms of international law and provide al-Gormezi with a speedy release from her unlawful incarceration.