20/12/2010 – 10:56 p | Hits: 79
The next hearing in the joint trial of Abdulemam and 24 other activists on terrorism charges is scheduled for 23 December.
20 December 2010
Jenan Al Oraibi, the wife of Ali Abdulemam, a blogger who has been detained in Bahrain since 4 September (http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-detained-human-rights-activists-02-11-2010,38730.html), has given a moving account of his detention and treatment by the authorities in an interview for the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12000292).
They will be defended by court-appointed lawyers because their own lawyers resigned en masse on 9 December in protest against the court’s refusal to suspend the trial while their torture allegations are investigated (http://en.rsf.org/bahrain-leading-human-rights-activist-08-12-2010,38986.html).
Their call for a suspension was based on article 186 of Bahrain’s criminal code, which states that when defendants claim they have been tortured, the trial must be suspended while the allegations are investigated. Reporters Without Borders supports their demand and accuses the Bahraini authorities of violating their country’s law.
In her interview for the BBC, Oraibi described her husband as a writer, journalist and blogger. “Ali does not belong to any political party,” she said. “He just writes his opinion. Ali has a free pen. That is exactly his crime. He has a free pen.”
His last blog entry before his arrest was to call for support for those who had already been arrested, she said. “The last thing he wrote was for those prisoners, defending them and now he is one of them. ” his wife said. Referring to the detainees as “victims, she said: “They are all good people who have good jobs in this society. They are all innocent.”
As regards the torture of the defendants, she said the authorities warned them that “if you speak of any mistreatment, any torture, we will torture you even more.” She added: “But they are really brave, they are heroes, they decided to stand up and say exactly what happened to them.”
She was supposed to be able to visit her husband every Wednesday but the frequency and duration of the visits has been reduced. They are not allowed to “talk about politics, what has been happening on the street or in the newspapers (…) even if there is nothing about them in the newspapers because the subject is banned in Bahrain.”
Since her husband’s arrest, she has had to look after their three young children alone and feels constantly under threat. During his interrogation sessions, the authorities threatened to have her dismissed. She said she was worried about talking to the BBC, especially as its reporters are constantly followed, “but I will be more worried if I don’t do anything.”