Main Prize - Commended 2011 Ayat Al-Gormezi, a 20 year old poet and student at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain, was put on trial for merely expressing her opinion, peacefully and openly. She was arrested in February 2011 because she recited a poem which criticised government policy in Pearl Square and was subjected to harassment, defamation, intimidation and threats of rape and murder whilst in prison, where she served two months of a one year sentence. She is currently out on bail and back with her family, although awaiting further information on future punishment.
Ayat has become a symbol of resistance to repression in Bahrain, encouraging thousands of young people and women to take to the streets to express their opinions and stand up for justice. Many women believe that ‘they are Ayat’ and feel inspired by her use of creativity to demand equality, justice and equal rights.