Gulf rights groups blast abuse of women activists

July 22, 2013 12:53 pm
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A woman browses Twitter on her smartphone in the Bahraini capital Manama, January 29, 2013 . A female activist made remarks on social network Twitter that were deemed insulting to the Gulf state's ruler/AFP
A woman browses Twitter on her smartphone in the Bahraini capital Manama, January 29, 2013 . A female activist made remarks on social network Twitter that were deemed insulting to the Gulf state’s ruler/AFP

, KUWAIT CITY, July 22- A number of Gulf based rights groups and activists on Monday strongly condemned Gulf monarchies over mistreatment of women activists that included sexual harassment, torture, illegal detention and other abuses.

A statement, signed by 50 Gulf rights groups and activists, said that women activists have been targeted in most of the six nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, especially after the start of the Arab Spring uprisings.

In Bahrain, female activists have been subjected to “sexual harassment and threatened with rape besides verbal and physical abuse” after they were held for participating in peaceful protests, the statement said.

It cited the case of female activist Rehana al Mussawi, who claimed that she was stripped naked during interrogation while in detention a few days ago.

In the other five GCC stateS Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates the statement said female activists were arrested, mistreated or unfairly sentenced to heavy jail terms for expressing views peacefully.

It condemned a 20 month jail term on Kuwaiti opposition activist Sara aL Darees for writing remarks on social network Twitter deemed offensive to the emir. The sentence was upheld last week by the appeals court.

In UAE, several women activists were detained for months as part of an alleged Islamist cell before they were acquitted in court, while in Saudi Arabia and Oman a number of women activists were detained and prosecuted.

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