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AngryArabiya in Court Today … and Tomorrow

Update: Zeinab was found innocent of one charge this morning, insulting a police officer, but will remain jailed until hearings on May 6 and May 15.

Zeinab AlKhawaja, whom many of you know from her twitter writing as @AngryArabiya, will face a Bahraini court today and tomorrow on “charges of obstructing traffic and insulting an officer in one case, and insulting at a security officer at a military hospital in a second case.”

When she was arrested the night she sat in the road, demanding to see her father, she was beaten and kicked by the police who arrested her:

Riot police surrounded her as she kneeled on the ground, and proceeded to kick her with their boots and jab her with their police batons. Although the police filmed her arrest, the camera focused on her face and upper body, while police aimed their attacks at her lower body. Other protesters had also told Wafi that the police filmed the arrest, but not from the ground when Zainab was being abused. Zainab shouted at them, “why are you treating us like dogs” to which a police woman responded by putting her baton to Zainab’s neck and choking her.

As her mother, Khadija Al-Mousawi (@tublani2010), notes in the video interview above, the government’s decision to hold Zeinab for ten days when in the past she has been released and has appeared at the prosecutors as ordered is a very bad sign that she may be held long term – and is a sign that the United States has “greenlighted” the monarchy’s decision to hold her.

University of Texas Occupy members call for freedom for AlKhawaja, photo by Kit O'Connell, used with permission

Along with members of the AlKhawaja family, many Bahrainis remain imprisoned or face reprisals for simply requesting democracy in nonviolent protests. On May Day, workers who were fired for participating in pro-democracy demonstrations last year demanded to be reinstated:

An independent probe into the month-long uprising said hundreds of Shiite workers were either dismissed or suspended indefinitely in the wake of a crackdown on a Shiite-led protest in February and March 2011.

According to Bahrain’s labour union, 455 private and 116 public sector workers remain dismissed from their jobs. The labour ministry says the number is only a few dozen and that the rest have been reinstated.

Demonstrations in the villages continue – as do the massive tear gas attacks on residents and houses and the arrests and torture of even children who participate in demonstrations:

In another development, a Bahraini minor was held in custody after taking part in a protest in a village south of the capital Manama, his lawyers said in a statement Sunday. Sayed Yasin Abduljalil, 13, appeared before a juvenile judge, who ordered his detention until Thursday for “assaulting a police officer… inciting violence” and “gathering” in public areas, said the statement.?   ?The boy was arrested on Friday on a street in Hamad Town, where protesters were preparing for a demonstration. He was taken to a police station where he was “beaten and tortured,” his lawyers said, urging rights groups and foreign embassies in Manama to intervene to secure his release.

Zeinab’s husband, Wafi Al-Majed, who had been imprisoned with her father, last year, told WitnessBahrain, in an interview yesterday that:

“We neither want nor need the international society to interfere with any of this. We just need them to stop supporting the dictatorship that is killing and torturing us and treating us worse than animals. The Americans could stop this whole thing right now if they just made one phone call to tell the Khalifa family that relations would be suspended until a government had been democratically elected. But they don’t do that.”

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

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