Bahrain Woman Gets Year for Reading Protest Poem

Student, 20, 'did nothing wrong,' says heartsick mom
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2011 4:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bahrain's rulers are striving to make it seem as if all is well in their tiny Persian Gulf country, but a brutal crackdown on dissent continues as a 20-year-old student is sentenced to a year in prison for reading a poem critical of the government. Ayat al-Qurmezi was convicted of anti-state charges, including inciting hate, for the poems she read in the capital's Pearl Square at the height of the demonstrations in February, reports the Washington Post.

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In a verse addressing Bahrain's king, she wrote: “We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery. Don’t you hear their cries? Don’t you hear their screams?” Amnesty International and Bahrain's opposition groups condemned the verdict, saying it illustrated how free speech is "brutally denied" in Bahrain. Her mother says they family will appeal. “My daughter did nothing wrong,” said her mother. “She didn’t raise her hands in anger. She used words to express how they felt. She was only using her rights of free speech.” (Read more Bahrain stories.)

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