Women the latest target of Bahrain’s crackdown

Kelly McEvers reports:

The woman who spoke to NPR says she was taken by bus to a police station, blindfolded, and made to stand for five hours in a room. She was accused of working to bring down the Bahraini regime.

“They tried to force me to confess that I told people at my work to be against the regime,” she says.

Authorities showed the woman a picture of someone protesting at Pearl Roundabout. At the time, Bahrain’s crown prince said it was legal to protest. Now, authorities say it’s a crime.

“They tried to force me to confess that a picture in a protest — that it is my picture. And it was really not my picture,” the woman says.

She was taunted about one of her relatives, who has been jailed without charge for many weeks. “They said very bad things about him,” she says. “And they told me that, ‘Do you think he will come out of the jail? He will die in jail.'”

But perhaps the worst part of the ordeal was that the woman was detained at all. In an Arab culture, particularly in the Gulf, detaining a woman is the ultimate humiliation, going back to the days when the way one tribe defeated another was to capture and rape its women.

“They told me if I didn’t confess they will let men come and — continue with me,” the woman says. “They told me that.”

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