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Bahrain policewoman to face trial for torturing reporter

AFP, Thursday 24 May 2012
Anti-government protesters chanting in a march asking for the release of detainees in the main souq (traditional market) in Manama May 22, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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A Bahrain policewoman charged with torturing a female journalist during last year's crackdown on anti-government protests will go on trial next month, the prosecution said on Thursday.

The officer who was not named was accused of torturing the Bahraini correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, Nazeeha Saeed, when she was arrested on May 22 last year, according to a statement.

The prosecution "has referred the case to the high criminal court because the defendant is a public servant in the ministry of interior and has used force against the victim to make her confess to a crime," it said.

"She beat her and caused her the harm described in a medical report," the statement added.

The officer was charged of "attacking the body" of Saeed, by "slapping her, beating her with a plastic tubing, kicking her in all parts of her body, in addition to insulting her," the statement said.

The first hearing has been set for June 6.

Saeed, who covered last year's month-long demonstrations and a deadly crackdown on the Shiite-dominated protests, was summoned by police on May 22 last year, without any idea of what awaited her, said media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Saeed claimed she was badly beaten and humiliated by several policewomen after she was accused of lying in her reports. She was released after midnight, and days later the interior ministry announced proceedings against those responsible for her mistreatment.

An international probe commissioned by Bahrain's King Hamad accused police of using excessive force and torture in its clampdown on protests that broke out on February 14 last year.

Amnesty International estimates that 60 people have been killed since then.

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