Bahrain begins trial of Shiite woman over 'insulting' poem

AFP, Thursday 2 Jun 2011

A Bahraini court on Thursday began the trial of a Bahraini Shiite woman arrested for insulting the Sunni ruling family through a poem she read out during a wave of anti-regime protests, activists told AFP.

Ayat al-Gormezi, aged 20, appeared before a military tribunal in Manama, said Nabil Rajab, a Shiite rights and opposition activist, who added that the trial was adjourned to June 6.

Gormezi was arrested in March during a month-long wave of Shiite-led protests that rocked the tiny Gulf monarchy before being crushed in mid-March.

She is accused of "insulting the king, taking part in banned gatherings, and spreading false information," according to Rajab.

The woman had read out two poems in which she attacked King Hamad and Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman, an uncle of King Hamad.

"She told her family that she had been tortured following her arrest," said Rajab.

Last month, authorities said 405 detainees had been referred to national safety courts, of whom 312 were later released

Bahraini authorities have said 24 people were killed during the unrest, most of them demonstrators.

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