Fri, 25 Jan 2013 09:55 CST

Bahraini princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa

A Bahraini princess is in court for the torture of three pro-democracy activists in detention. The princess’s case is the latest in a string of cases of torture and violence has seen the light in a report issued by Bahraini opposition.

Princess Nora Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa who serves in Bahrain’s Drugs Control Unit, allegedly collaborated with another officer to torture three activists held in detention following a pro-democracy rally against the island kingdom’s monarchy.

The princess categorically denies the charges of torture set against her.

Two of the princess’s alleged victims were Doctors Ghassan Daif and Bassem Daif, who went to help the hundreds wounded when police opened fire with teargas and birdshot during protests in 2011. They were taken into custody in March of that year when it is thought that al-Khalifa tortured them.

Ayat al-Qurmazi

The third victim, 21-year-old Ayat al-Qurmazi, was arrested for public reading of inflammatory poetry criticizing the royal family. She claims her blindfold slipped while she was being tortured and she caught a glimpse of al-Khalifa.

As Muslim women have never before been known to take part in interrogations and tortures, Nora Al-Khalifa stands out as the grossest character in the human rights activists’ report, RT’s Nadezhda Kevorkova said.

Princess Nora’s case is the latest in a series of torture scandals highlighted in a report by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights.

A 55-pages report titled ‘Citizens in the Grip of Torture’ is based on the nine interviews with named and anonymous witnesses. It was published both in English and Arabic.

The report states that two of the Bahraini King’s sons Nasser Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa and Khalid Bin Hammad Al-Khalifa, as well as two other members of the royal family, Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and Nora Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, directly took part in torturing the activists.

© Photos from Report: Citizens in the Grip of Torturers
Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (L), Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa (M), Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (R).

Torture stories include rare details that Muslims usually prefer to shun for ethical reasons, Bahraini opposition activists told Kevorkova.

After getting numerous letters from torture victims who mentioned the four members of the royal family among the arresters and torturers, the report’s authors decided it was vital to get an investigation going, RT’s Kevorkova said.

Included in the report are short CVs of those four members of the Bahrain’s royal family accused of human rights violations.

Nasser Bin Hamad, the fourth son of the King Hamad, is a colonel and commander of Bahrain’s royal guard. Bin Hamad, his 23-year-old brother, has also held a number of senior positions despite his young age and is married to Saudi Arabian King’s daughter.

The other two Al-Khalifas directly responsible for cases of torture and violence as stated in the report are Colonel Khalifa Bin Ahmed, a high-ranking police officer dismissed from his post in September 2011, and Lieutenant Nora Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain’s Drug Enforcement Administration.

Tortured for reading verses

Poet Ayat Al-Qurmozy was arrested in March 2011 after reciting a poem against the Bahraini regime during a peaceful demonstration in Pearl Roundabout. She was detained by masked men dressed in civilian clothing. On her release, al-Qurmozy told of tortures used on her by both men and women. One of the women involved was identified as Nora al-Khalifa.

The report states that Nora spat on al-Qurmozy and into her mouth, slapped her in the face repeatedly, administered electric shocks and shouted anti-Shia slurs.

On the eighth day of her arrest, al-Qurmozy was brought blindfolded into a room full of men, documents the report. They shouted abuse at her and demanded she tell them by whom she was given the verses and how much she was paid for reading them.

“I was surprised by a woman grabbing me and slapping me hard in the face… When she was screaming, cursing and slapping me hard on my face, the blindfold came down off my eyes and I saw her face a bit but they rushed to lift it,” al-Qurmozy later said, as cited in the report.


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