SHAFAQNA – Amnesty International called for a show of solidarity with Bahrain’s Ebtisam al-Saegh on the occasion of the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day.
In a Tweet posted on Wednesday, the group urged Manama “to drop all charges against … Ebtisam al-Saegh who works tirelessly to defend women rights in Bahrain”.
Al Saegh was among three Bahraini rights activists freed last month, pending a trial on terror-related charges.
She was taken into custody in July, after armed men stormed her home in the middle of the night without presenting an arrest warrant. During her time in detention she was subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
“Ebtisam should be awarded, not prosecuted,” Amnesty added.
Meanwhile, independent experts of the UN Human Rights Council marked the occasion on Wednesday by calling on UN Member States to “stop criminalizing women for their work in transforming society and defending human rights”.
The experts also warned of “ever increasing threats and harassment including travel bans, as well as assaults, killings, and imprisonment of many women human rights defenders.”
“Sexual assaults or threats of rape and attacks against the family of the defender are the types of aggressions specific to women human rights defenders,” the experts noted.
Al-Saegh told Amnesty and other rights groups about the horrific beatings and sexual assaults that she endured at the hands of operatives working for Manama’s National Security Agency (NSA).