Bahrain: A year in jail for a poem

On Sunday a court in Bahrain sentenced Ayat Al Qurmazi, a 20-year-old education student, to a year in prison for insulting the king and inciting hatred. Al Qurmazi became famous after reciting poetry Pearl Square that includes the lines such as:  

We are the people who will kill humiliation and assassinate misery 
We are the people who will destroy the foundation of injustice 
Don't you hear their cries, don't you hear their screams 

You can see her reciting her poetry -- dedicated directly to the king -- here.

According to the Associated Press, while in detention Al Qurmazi was lashed in the face with electrical cables and forced to clean toilets with her hands. Here is a Facebook page dedicated to her case. 

1 Comment

Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.