Bahrain princess accused of torture during anti-government unrest


A Bahraini woman takes part in an anti-government protest in solidarity with jailed Bahraini women in the village of Mahaza, in Sitra, south of Manama on December 27, 2012. Arbitrary arrests and torture continue in Bahrain, but the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has cancelled his trip to the country.



Bahrain princess-turned-cop Noura Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa stands accused of torturing two doctors and an anti-government demonstrator during political upheaval there last year, according to Reuters

The 29-year-old royal denied the charges in court appearances Sunday and Monday, said BBC News.

She is accused of torturing a pair of doctor brothers and physically assaulting a female Shiite activist, Aayat al-Qurmazi, during her detention, said Reuters

Al-Qurmazi was jailed last March after publicly reading poetry critical of the ruling family, expressing feelings that gripped the Gulf nation in the form of massive anti-government protests last year. 

Al-Qurmazi claimed she was blindfolded, threatened with rape and violently beaten with cables during her nine-day imprisonment. She said she knew Sheikha Noura was responsible because her blindfold slipped once and she saw her, the activist's lawyer told BBC

Referring to the doctors' case, prosecuting official Nawaf Hamza told Reuters: "The charge is that she used torture, force and threats against the victims Zahra al-Sammak and Kholoud al-Durazi to make them confess to a crime." Hamza directs Bahrain's Public Prosecution's Special Investigation Unit. 

The two doctors worked at the Salmaniya medical complex, a facility that served a number of anti-government protesters wounded in clashes with government forces, according to BBC

At the time of the alleged violations in the spring of 2011, Sheikha Noura was a member of the police drugs control unit, but her lawyer told Reuters she had since taken a different job. 

Hundreds of people have been arrested in the ruling monarchy's crackdown on an anti-government uprising there, which began February 2011, said BBC