Poetry News

Help PEN Center USA Fight Unjust Treatment of Bahraini Poet Ayat Al-Gormezi

By Harriet Staff

As we noted on Monday, 20-year-old Bahraini poet Ayat Al-Gormezi has been sentenced to one year in prison for reading a poem at a pro-democracy rally in Pearl Square in Manama, Bahrain's capital, earlier this spring. The poem was critical of the current regime and deemed to incite hatred. Al-Gormezi claimed while in holding that she had been subject to severely unfair treatment and beatings; PEN Center USA now reports that "according to her brother her treatment has now improved as a result of international attention to her case." Her family is also appealing.

PEN Center USA is going further with this attention. Recognizing that the poet was sentenced in a trial which did not meet international standards of fairness, they are committed to fighting Al-Gormezi's case:

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International protests the one-year sentence handed down to poet and student Ayat Al-Gormezi on anti-state charges for poems critical of the Bahraini King. PEN calls for her immediate and unconditional release, and that of all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful expression of their views, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a signatory.

You can stand up against the unjust treatment of Ayat Al-Gormezi here. As PEN notes, your names along with a letter of protest stating their appeals will be sent to the King of Bahrain and to the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs. A copy will also be sent to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Washington, D.C.

Originally Published: June 15th, 2011