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Student faces trial for reciting poems during protest

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 5 June 2011 - ANHRI condemns the ongoing martial courts against Bahraini activists for expressing their opinions. The emergency law, according to which these martial courts are held, has been lifted, ANHRI notes. On 6 June 2011, a martial court is expected to preside over the second hearing in a case against poet Ayat Al Cormozy.

Ayat Al Cormozy, a 20-year-old student and poet, was arrested in March by the Bahraini security forces after reciting poems during a protest and sit-in at the Pearl Roundabout which was dispersed by force. The poems were critical of Bahraini authorities.

The poet was detained in an undisclosed location and no charges were laid against her. Finally the Bahraini authorities informed her family that she would be prosecuted in a martial court on 2 June, at the first sitting of the court. The court indicted the young poet for "commenting on the Bahraini King and participating in illegal demonstrations" and decided to postpone the hearing to 6 June.

The prosecution came only two days after the lifting of the notorious emergency law, which had been imposed on 15 March. Under the law, 600 opposition activists were arrested and around 2,000 persons were fired from their jobs for participating in the demonstrations waged in the kingdom since February, and which were violently suppressed by the security forces.

Ayat Al Cormozy is the second woman to be prosecuted in a martial court. Activist Galila Salman was previously sentenced to four years in jail for possessing forbidden audio recordings and not obeying the orders of the police officers while on the street on 12 May.

"The human rights situation in Bahrain is deteriorating. The lifting of the emergency law was merely an attempt by the authorities to improve their image, while they continue to use martial courts and other measures to suppress freedom of expression," ANHRI said.

"The authorities should stop attacking human rights activists and opponents and prosecuting civilians in martial courts. They should immediately release all activists and arrested demonstrators, and permit freedom of opinion and expression to flourish without resorting to prosecution or arrests. It is not logical for the Bahraini authorities to call for a dialogue with different political movements while opposition leaders are in jail," the organisation added.

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