Bahraini poetess Ayat al-Qurmezi confirms torture





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Uploaded on Jul 15, 2011

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.

In a popular uprising, tens of thousands of Bahraini protesters have been holding peaceful anti-regime rallies throughout the country since February, demanding an end to the rule of the Al Khalifa family.

The royals have governed the oil-rich Persian Gulf island for over 40 years with major backing from the United States, Britain and the neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Scores of people have been killed and many more arrested and tortured in prisons as part of the clampdown in the country -- a longtime US ally and home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.



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