BAHRAIN.— The Bahraini government has released Ayat al-Qurmozi, a Muslim poet, who was sentenced to one year in prison for reciting a poem critiquing the country’s ruling family.
In February, the twenty-year-old teacher trainee, a student at the Teacher’s College of Bahrain, attended a pro-democracy rally in the Pearl Roundabout where she read a poem to the crowd. The poem mocked the ruling Al Khalifa family and called for the king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to step down.
Short afterwards Al- Qurmozi went into hiding in fear of the government. Police reportedly flooded into her parents’ home and threatened to kill her brothers and parents if she wasn’t located promptly, Ayat then turned herself in.
Ayat al-Qurmozi returned home on Thursday, she remains under house arrest, however. She is one of nearly 200 people released this week, according to human rights groups in Bahrain.
Al-Qurmozi claims that she was beaten while in prison. Al-Qurmozi also explained that as a condition of her release she was made to promise not to attend protests or speak with the media.
“I’m not afraid to speak out though. I have something to say and I won’t be afraid because of a paper I signed… I hope Bahrain can move away from the crisis to a transition into a better future, without discrimination or sectarianism,” she said.
Protests continue across Bahrain and dozens of protesters remain jailed, including eight who were sentenced just last month to life terms.