Bahraini mother freed after months in jail for revolutionary music

Published Monday, February 6, 2012

Prominent Bahraini activist Fadheela Al-Mubarak was freed on Monday, nearly a year after being arrested for listening to revolutionary music, as pro-democracy protests continue.

Mubarak was among the first female activists to have been arrested in Bahrain when she was taken into custody at a checkpoint in March.

She was sentenced to 18 months in jail by Bahraini authorities for listening to music that is common among many of the protesters, but is deemed revolutionary by the authorities.

Mubarak was the first female to be tried in a military court in Bahrain.

Her plight became a key talking point on social networking sites after her nine-year-old son Mahdi and her brother Ali posted an emotional video appeal for her release online.

In the video, Mahdi appealed for the authorities to release her, saying “I don't like to live without my mother.”

On Monday, activist Ahlam Alkuzaie tweeted a picture showing Mubarak free and smiling.

Also released on Monday was Naser Al-Raas, a Canadian citizen who had been jailed last Wednesday for breaking the country's illegal-assembly laws during pro-democracy protests.

Elsewhere in the state activists continued their week of protests against the government.

On Sunday, thousands of people took to the streets in Manama, including families of the women detained calling for their release outside the central police station.

Poet Ayat al-Qormozi, who became a face of the Arab Spring movement after she was jailed for reading out a poem criticizing the king at Pearl Roundabout, addressed the crowd of over 10,000 in outer Manama.

“This is a dress rehearsal for the return. We will return! We will return! Soon our sit-in will not be here but at the Pearl Roundabout," she said.

Pearl Roundabout, a large traffic junction in Manama where the protesters camped out and rallied for a month in February last year, has since been closed off by security forces who monitor the area closely.

Protests in Bahrain broke out last year inspired by the pro-democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt. Activists soon took over the Roundabout, but were forced back when Bahraini and Saudi security forces suppressed them.

Activists say the ongoing violence has taken the total dead over the past year to more than 60, some from teargas inhalation or from being hit by cars in pursuit of youths.

The government disputes the causes of death.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters)

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