Bahraini princess on trial for torturing detainees

The princess is alleged to have tortured doctors to force confessions; activist accuses her of torture by electric shock.

By REUTERS
January 30, 2013 19:36
2 minute read.
Protests in Bahrain

bahrain riots 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

ABU DHABI- A Bahraini princess who works as a police officer is on trial for torturing two doctors while they were in detention during political unrest in the Gulf Arab kingdom in 2011, according to a senior official at Bahrain's Public Prosecutor's office.

Sheikha Noura bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa is also facing a separate trial for physically assaulting Aayat al-Qormozi, a young female Shi'ite opposition activist, while she was in detention during the same period, Nawaf Hamza, head of the Public Prosecution's Special Investigation Unit, told Reuters.

"The charge is that she used torture, force and threats against the victims Zahra al-Sammak and Kholoud al-Durazi to make them confess to a crime," Hamza, referring to the two doctors, told Reuters by telephone.

According to Sammak's lawyer, the alleged torture took place in March and April 2011, a period when the US-allied kingdom was convulsed by unrest following the start in February of demonstrations led by majority Shi'ites demanding democratic change in the Sunni-led monarchy.

In the second case against the princess, activist and poet Aayat al-Qormozi, born in 1991, says the princess applied electric shocks to her face, spat in her mouth and beat her while she was in detention, reported Qormozi's lawyer Reem Khalaf. However, the charge against the princess in this case makes no reference to torture.

Qormozi was jailed for a year in 2011 for insulting the king, taking part in illegal gatherings and inciting hatred against the government, Khalaf said.

The princesses's lawyer, Fareed Ghazi said that the princess did not wish to comment.

"Of course, she denies all the charges against her," Ghazi said, referring to the allegations at issue in both of the trials.

An independent commission said thirty-five people died during the unrest and two months of martial law that followed, but the opposition puts that number at more than 80. The government rejects the figures and has accused opposition groups of being linked to Shi'ite power Iran.


The Arab Spring has heightened sensitivity in the Gulf region, where kingly or princely rule is the norm, over perceived criticism of how it deals with dissent. This has complicated efforts by the West to balance a push for rights and democracy with Western commercial and strategic interests.

Princess Sheikha Noura is about 29 years old, according to media reports, and is one of many members of the family who hold jobs in the public sector.

The Bahrain government says it has taken steps to address the brutality of security forces by dismissing those responsible and introducing cameras at police stations to monitor abuses.

Bahrain drew fierce criticism from abroad for arrests of doctors and nurses during and after the uprising.

Since March 2011, at least 60 health professionals have been tried and sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years on charges including attempting to bring down the government, according rights group Physicians for Human Rights.

To try to counter the unrest, the Bahrain government brought in Gulf Arab troops, mainly from Saudi Arabia, and imposed two months of martial law to end the uprising.

The Shi'ite opposition wants a constitutional monarchy and a more equitable political system that would allow them to have greater representation, ending decades-old discrimination against them in jobs including the army and security forces.

The government denies discriminating against the Shi'ite population.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

al jazeera
May 20, 2019
Why is Twitter helping Al-Jazeera hide evidence of Holocaust denial video?

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN