(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) called on Manama to investigate widespread allegations of abuse against female activists and for those responsible to be held to account.
According to the rights group, the intensifying campaign of repression in Bahrain has also made women human rights defenders a “predominant target”.
The BCHR documented nine cases throughout 2017 in which women were detained over their activism or that of their family members.
In eight cases, Manama used its anti-terror legislation to jail the women without charge, including the recently freed Ebtisam Al-Saegh.
In an interview with the BCHR, Al-Saegh alleges that she was “beaten and raped” during her July interrogation by Manama’s National Security Agency (NSA).
Other former detainees confirmed the use of sexual violence and other forms of harassment at the hands of the NSA as well as “degrading conditions” at the Isa Town Women’s Prison.
The activists told the BCHR that they either abandoned their work or fled the country over fears for their safety.
“I am afraid to talk. I am a mother and I feel worried for my children. Women who spoke out about issues like sexual violence used by the security services or the situation of women detainees have been harassed and threatened,” one of the women told the rights group.