On 22 October, a court in Manama cleared a policewoman of torture and ill-treatment in the course of her duties when a female Bahraini journalist, Nazeeha Saeed, was assaulted and beaten in custody during anti-government protests last year.
Saeed, a correspondent for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, had been summoned to a police station for questioning in the city of Rifa’a on 22 May last year.
Lieutenant Sarah al-Musa was the first female officer to be prosecuted before a civilian court for abuses carried out by the police during the crackdown on the popular uprising that began in February last year. Her trial opened on 6 June.
Reporters Without Borders is outraged at the officer’s acquittal, a verdict that illustrates the Bahrain’s judicial system’s lack of independence. The kingdom’s authorities, mindful of their international image, pride themselves on having accepted 158 of the 176 recommendations -- 13 partially – made by the Bahrain Universal Periodic Review at the 21st session of the UN Human rights Council last month. However, these undertakings were trampled underfoot as soon as the television cameras left.
The journalist has announced she intends to appeal against the verdict.
Saeed, it should be noted, also made a complaint against another policewoman and a male officer, Fahad Ali Abdulla Khalifa, alleging torture and ill-treatment, but so far no action has been taken against them.
As well as being a co-accused in the case, Khalifa was also cited as a witness and gave evidence at a hearing on 7 September.