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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: Bahrain – Bahraini mother's cry for help

Action Alert: Bahrain – Bahraini mother's cry for help

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Ayat Alqurmezi

Bahraini police tells father: “If you don't tell us where Ayat is in fifteen minutes, we will kill each of your sons in front of your eyes”

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letters


1. Summary

The mother of Ayat Al-Qormezi appeals to all campaigners and human rights activist to ascertain the whereabouts of her daughter and ensure her safe return. Ayat was arrested for reciting a poem which criticised the Bahraini government.


2. Background

Ayat Al-Qormezi, a 20 years old poet and student at the Faculty of Teachers, was arrested on Wednesday, March 30th 2011. The reasoning for her arrest is that she recited a poem which criticised government policy in Pearl Square, on February 23rd, 2011. Al-Qormezi had been receiving has been subjected to harassments, defamation, intimidation and threats of rape and murder.

Her mother has told IHRC that they live in constant fear, since the police raided their house on Tuesday at 1:00 AM. Having not found Ayat, they destroyed the contents of the house and confiscated books and CDs. Before leaving, they told the family that they will continue pressuring the family until they reveal the whereabouts of the 20 year old student.

On Wednesday, riot forces and over 50 jeeps surrounded their house. They raided their house again, gathered four of Ayat’s brothers, and laid them on the floor at gunpoint. They shouted at Ayat’s father “If you do not tell us where Ayat is in fifteen minutes, we will kill each of your sons in front of your eyes – I have orders to do so”, her mother told IHRC.

After this terrifying ordeal, her mother and father had no choice but to ask Ayat to return home. The riot forces and the police, faces covered, told the mother that they would take her to be interrogated and sign documents. They were told that they would then be able to take her home from Al-Howra police station. Her mother states that her daughter has been missing ever since, has been told that her daughter is being treated at a military hospital for wounds incurred during being tortured by her interrogators.

Her mother pleads desperately, saying: “Please find my daughter and bring her back to me before they kill her”.

IHRC urges all campaigners to write letters to the Bahraini authorities and the Foreign Secretaries in their countries, urging them to put pressure on the Bahraini authorities to reveal immediately the whereabouts of Ayat Al-l-Qormezi, and ensure her return.

3. Action required

Write letter to the following authorities, urging them to ensure the immediate release of Ayat Al-Qormezi, and guarantee her safety and security:

a) Minister of foreign affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Bahraini counterpart. UK campaigners will find the appropriate address, fax and email on the sample letter below.

b) Ministry of Interior in Bahrain Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa.


4. Sample letters
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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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a) Minister of foreign affairs in your country. (UK campaigners can write using the address supplied below, fax: +44 (0)20 7839 2417 or email: private.office@fco.gov.uk)

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Rt Hon. William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London,
SW1A 2AH,
United Kingdom.

Dear Mr. Hague,

Re: Bahrain – Release of the poet , Ayat Al-Qurmezi required

Ayat Al-Qormezi, a 20 year old poet, was arrested on Wednesday 30th March 2011 for reciting an anti-government poem in Pearl Square, Manama, on 23rd February 2011. Freedom of Speech is a right guaranteed under international conventions on human rights; and yet Al-Qormezi has been subject to harassment, defamation, intimidation and threats of rape and murder for writing a humorously satirical poem.

The police raided the Al-Qormezi house, and threatened her father that his children would be killed one by one until he revealed the whereabouts of the daughter. Faced with this grim threat, the father surrendered his daughter to be questioned by the police. She has not been seen since, and her whereabouts are unknown.

Your pronouncements suggest that you champion the cause of freedom of speech, and yet we have not heard anything from you condemning what has happened to this young woman. I bring this case to your attention to encourage you to hold true to your words, and put pressure on your counterparts in Bahrain to secure Al-Qormezi’s safety, security and immediate release.

Anything less and your mantra of ‘freedom of speech’ will ring hollow.

I hope that you and the Khalifas are not going to act like an old boys club network, and deny this young woman the justice she deserves.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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b) HE Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, Minister of Interior in Bahrain

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Minister of Interior
HE Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 17232661


Your Excellency,

Re: Bahrain – Release of the poet , Ayat Al-Qurmezi required

Ayat Al-Qormezi, a 20 year old poet, was arrested on Wednesday 30th March 2011 for reciting an anti-government poem in Pearl Square, Manama, on 23rd February 2011. Freedom of Speech is a right guaranteed under international conventions on human rights; and yet Al-Qormezi has been subject to harassment, defamation, intimidation and threats of rape and murder for writing a humorously satirical poem.

The police raided the Al-Qormezi house, and threatened her father that his children would be killed one by one until he revealed the whereabouts of the daughter. Faced with this grim threat, the father surrendered his daughter to be questioned by the police. She has not been seen since, and her whereabouts are unknown.

I therefore urge you to release Ayat Al-Qormezi immediately, and ensure that she is returned safely to her family. The actions of those that arrested her should be investigated, and they should be appropriately punished. Please allow Bahraini citizens their right to freedom of expression. Writing poetry is an old Arabic tradition which should be encouraged, rather than suppressed.

I look forward to your response on this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]


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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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HA9 7XH
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