An Update With A Woman Caught In The Middle Of Bahrain's Crackdown

Aug 11, 2011

On today's All Things Considered NPR's Kelly McEvers brings us an update on a story she reported in May. The story was about how the Bahraini government had started targeting women in effort to quell a rebellion that raged in the country since February.

Kelly reported on one women who agreed to be interviewed by NPR only if she could whisper and talk in English so the government could not track her down.

"They took me from my work," she said. "And from the beginning, they slapped me on my face, on my head, shoulder."

"She had been detained, beaten, then let go," Kelly reported. "When she met with NPR, she was limping from pain."

Today, Kelly revealed that the woman in that story was the wife of Jawad Fairooz, a politician who was part of the opposition in Bahrain. The reason Fairooz's wife did not want to be identified in the original story is because her husband was in state custody at the time.

But, earlier this week, Fairooz along with Matar Matar, another MP, were released.

Fairooz's wife told Kelly the reason the government took her was to put pressure on her husband to confess and to get her to admit that that they were having secret meetings at their house and using special equipment to broadcast news out of the country. None of them confessed because it wasn't true.

Kelly said the family told her they had no plans to leave Bahrain or stop opposing the government. Matar told the BBC, that during their time in jail, they were "tortured" and "beaten."

But Kelly said the men's release sheds light on the issues in Bahrain. Kelly said the men were released for no reason; randomly one day a man came into their cells and told them they were free to go.

"Opposition figures are also saying the arbitrary nature of this release... is kind of a reflection of the larger problem in Bahrain, that you can sort of arbitrarily be taken away and released at the whim of the state," said Kelly. "This is the reason people came out in the first place."

The protesters came out demanding a more democratic system, a system, said Kelly, based on rule of law.

Much more from Kelly's conversation with Michele Norris on tonight's All Things Considered. Tune into your local member station or we'll add the as-aired version of the interview, here, later today.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.