Bahrain Mirror: On 26 May 2017, human rights defender Ebtisam Al-Saegh was summoned by the National Security Agency (NSA) to Muharraq police station, in the North of the country, Front Line Defenders (FLD) stated.
The NGO said she was tortured and was sexually assaulted by the interrogators. She was also subjected to verbal abuse, and interrogators threatened to rape her if she did not put an end to her human rights activities.
Ebtisam Al-Saegh was released after 7 hours of interrogation, and was immediately taken to a hospital in a state of nervous breakdown. Al-Saegh had told Amnesty International details of her torture, and today Front Line Defenders reveals more of its details.
The NSA also resorted to psychological torture by trying to pressure her into publicly announcing on Twitter that she would cease her human rights work and resign from SALAM when they threatened to target her husband or her children.
Front Line Defenders said that the Bahraini government has stepped up its repression of human rights defenders and is now resorting to torture in order to force them to halt their activities. Other human rights defenders who were summoned by the NSA may have also been tortured or ill-treated in the last weeks. Some have since tweeted that they are stopping their activities.
Moreover, Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the torture and sexual abuse of Ebtisam Al-Saegh by agents of the NSA as well as the threats made against her and her family, which are directly related to her legitimate work in exposing human rights abuses in Bahrain. Front Line Defenders also calls on the Bahrain authorities to immediately end all further harassment of Ebtisam Al-Saegh.
Front Line Defenders also urged the authorities in Bahrain to:
- Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the acts of torture and sexual assault against Ebtisam Al-Saegh, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards.
- Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ebtisam Al-Saegh, as well as of the members of her family.
- Cease targeting all human rights defenders in Bahrain and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.