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Bahrain: Twitter User Jailed for 66 Days for Tweeting

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

The Arab world has a reputation for arresting and torturing bloggers and netizens and Bahrain is no exception, particularly after its February 14 uprising. Just the way Bahraini medics used Twitter to tell the world about the torture and abuse they witnessed at the hands of security personnel in jail, a Twitter user who goes by the pseudonym Nezrad (@nezrad) has been tweeting his jail experience over the past few days to share his story with the rest of the world.

Social media logo in support of February 14 protests. Photo credit: People

Social media logo in support of February 14 protests. Photo credit: People

According to Nazred, he was arrested because of his tweets and with his new updates, he wanted to tell his story [ar]:

بسبب بضع كلمات في تويتر تم أعتقالي وتكبيلي وتعصيب عيني واستجوابي لـ 5 ساعات عانيت فيها من التقييد والعطش والشتائم والوقوف على رجلي دون جلوس
@nezrad: because of some words I wrote on Twitter, I was arrested, shackled, blind-folded, and interrogated for five hours. I suffered a lot from being shackled, from thirst, insults, and standing without getting to sit down.

He continues describing his ordeal:

قبل بدأ التحقيق في النعيم أتى رجل وسألني بلهجة يمنية:ماهي تهمتك؟ أين تعمل؟ ما هذه البدلة التي تلبسها؟ ثم جرني ومزق البدلة وصفعني ثم بصق علي
@nezrad: before the beginning of the interrogation, a man came and asked me in a Yemeni accent: “What is your charge? Where do you work? What is this suit you are wearing?” and then he pulled me and ripped off my suit and slapped me, then he spitted on me.

He adds:

بعد ذلك تم إدخالي في غرفة التحقيق، حيث استجوبني شخصان.. كانت أسئلتهما غريبة..لم يكن استجوابا حقيقيا بقدر ما هو توبيخ واستهزاء وشتائم
@nezrad: After that, I was taken to an interrogation room where two men interrogated me. Their questions were weird. It was not a real interrogation, it was just about insulting and disrespecting me.

Nazrad continues detailing his plight in the following tweets:

وأثناء الاستجواب سألني أحد المحققين بلهجة عراقية: هل تحب صدام حسين؟ مارأيك في العراقيين؟ هل تسمع أغاني عراقية؟ ثم طلب مني أن أغني له أغنية
@nezrad: During the interrogation, one of the interrogators asked me in an Iraqi accent: “Do you love Saddam Hussain? What do you think of Iraqis? Do you listen to Iraqi songs?” He then asked me to sing a song for him.
وسأل المحقق الآخر: هل ذهبت إلى الدوار؟ واقترب مني وسحبني من ربطة عنقي بقوة ثم كرر السؤال مهددا؟ فأجبته اني ذهبت للدوار بدافع الاطلاع فقط
@nezrad: The other interrogator asked: “Did you go to the roundabout?” then he came closer to me and pulled me from my tie and repeated the question and threatened me. Then I told him that yes I went, out of curiosity.
بعد الانتهاء من التحقيق الذي دام 5 ساعات طلب مني احد المحققين أن انشد له النشيد الوطني! فقلت أني مجهد الان! قال نحن لم نفعل بك شيئا حتى الآن
@nezrad: After the interrogation was over, lasting for five hours, one of the interrogators asked me to sing the national anthem. I told him “I am tired now.” He said: “We still did not do anything to you yet.”

Nazrad is then transferred to a prison cell, where he shares his arrest story with others. In return, he too witnesses and learns about the atrocities the other prisoners have been subjected to. Here is his story in his own words. All the tweets are in Arabic.

عندما أدخلوني الزنزانة، استقبلني بعض الشباب، وأجلسوني واحضروا لي الماء! ثم تجمعوا حولي! وبعد أن التقطت أنفاسي، بدئوا يسألونني عن قصة اعتقالي
@nezrad: When they put me in the cell, the youth welcomed me, let me sit down and gave me water. They gathered around me. After I rested a bit, they started asking me about my arrest story.
في نفس اليوم، دخل إلى الزنزانة خمس معتقلين آخرين وبدا التعذيب واضحا على أجسادهم! احدهم كانت رقبته مكسورة، والأخر ثوبه ملطخة بالدم
@nezrad: That same day, five detainees were brought into the cell and the torture marks were clear on their bodies. One of them had his neck broken and the other had his clothes soiled with blood.
كل يوم كان هناك فوج جديد من المعتقلين حتى أمتلئ السجن عن بكرة أبيه حيث اكتظت الزنزانات بأكثر مما تستوعب حتى افترش بعض الموقوفين الأرض للنوم
@nezrad: Everyday, there was a new group of detainees brought in until the prison was completely filled. The prison had more than its capacity so some prisoners had to sleep on the floor.
في احد الليالي تم إدخال 9 لاعبين لكرة السلة من منتخب البحرين على خلفية مشاركتهم في المسيرة الرياضية فأصبح سجن النعيم كأنه معسكر رياضي
@nezrad: On one of the nights, they brought in nine players from the national basketball team of Bahrain because they participated in the athletes’ rally that supported the protests. Al-Naim prison became like a sports camp.
بعد مرور عدة أيام على بقائي بالسجن تم استدعائي مع 5 موقوفين آخرين وتم تعصيب اعيننا وعندما رفعوا العصابة عن عيني فاذا بكاميرا أمامي
@nezrad: After a few days of my imprisonment, I was summoned with another five detainees and our eyes were blindfolded and when they removed the folds, we saw a camera in front of us.
كما وجدت امامي بعض الملثمين الذين أعطوني ورقة تتضمن إفادتي التي وقعت عليها أثناء التحقيق وطلبوا مني أن ألقيها أمام الكاميرا
@nezrad: I saw some men, whose faces were covered, who gave me a paper that included my statement that I signed during the interrogation and they asked me to recite it in front of the camera.
كانت تمر أيام قاسية للغاية في مركز النعيم خاصة عندما يمرض احد المعتقلين وكذلك كنا نتألم عندما نسمع صراخ وضرب المعتقلين الجدد من وراء الجدران
@nezrad: There were hard days in Al-Naim center, especially when one of the detainees got sick. We were also suffering when we hear the new detainees screaming and getting beaten behind the walls.
مما كان يفزعني دخول الملثمون في بعض الليالي في وقت متاخر حيث يأخذون بعض الموقوفين الجدد مرة أخرى لإعطائهم جرعات إضافية من الضرب
@nezrad: One of the things that used to frighten me is when the men whose faces were covered came into the cell late, rounding up some of the new detainees again to give them extra doses of beatings.
كانت لحظات الانتظار في السجن مضجرة وتبعث على السأم..وكثيرة هي الأمور التي تثير السخط في السجن حيث لا نستطيع أن نهنأ بالنوم
@nezrad: The moments of waiting in prison were boring and there were many things that irritated us as we could not sleep.
ومما يبعث على الاشمئزاز في مركز النعيم الذهاب لقضاء الحاجة في الحمامات التي تزكم رائحتها الأنوف وقد تطوع بعض الموقوفين بتنظيفها دون جدوى
@nezrad: One of the things that disgusted us in Al-Naim prison was going to the bathroom. Some of the detainees volunteered to clean it but that didn't work.
في اليوم 17 من إقامتي في مركز النعيم، وفي منتصف الليل دخل علينا ضابط وقرأ اسمي وأسماء 15 معتقلا آخر، ثم تم نقلنا إلى سجن الحوض الجاف
@nezrad: On the 17th day of my stay in Naim prison, at midnight, an officer came and read my name and that of 15 other detainees, and we were transferred to the Dry Dock prison.
عندما تم نقلنا إلى الحوض الجاف في منتصف الليل كنا مكبلين ومعصبين وهناك كان الاستقبال حافلا حيث تم ضربنا بالهوز على مؤخرة كما تم ركلنا وصفعنا
@nezrad: When we were transferred to the Dry Dock prison by midnight we were shackled and our eyes were blindfolded. The reception there was ‘warm’ as we got beaten by hoses on our butts and got kicked and slapped.
وقد صدمت في الحوض الجاف عندما شاهدت العديد من المعتقلين الجرحى الذين تركت جراح بعضهم عاهات مستديمة فهناك ممن فقدوا أعينهم أو تشوهت أجسادهم
@nezrad: I was shocked at the Dry Dock prison when I saw the wounded detainees who were left with their injuries, which turned into permanent disabilities. Some had lost their eyes and others had their bodies deformed.
كان رئيس السجن يجمعنا خارج الزنزانات في الممر الضيق الطويل لنصطف ثم يقوم كل سجين بتعداد نفسه وبعدها نقوم بأداء نشيد السلام الوطني
@nezrad: The head of the prison used to gather us outside the cells in a narrow corridor, line us up, and make each prisoner count himself and sing the national anthem.

According to the findings of a royal commission appointed by the King of Bahrain Hamad Al Khalifa, the “authorities used torture and excessive force against detainees arrested in crackdowns” on protesters in Bahrain. The report also speaks of the torture of prisoners and systematic abuse.

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.


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