A Bahrain policewoman pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of torturing a female journalist during last year’s crackdown on anti-government protests, lawyers said.
The officer, Lieutenant Sara al-Musa, denied torturing Nazeeha Saeed, who is the Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, and was not in court, the lawyers said.
The hearing was adjourned to June 24 for further deliberation.
Musa is accused of torturing Saeed while the journalist was in custody on May 22 last year.
The prosecution said last month that it had referred the case to the “high criminal court because the defendant is a public servant in the ministry of interior and has used force against the victim to make her confess to a crime.”
“She beat her and caused her the harm described in a medical report,” a prosecution statement said.
The officer was charged with “attacking the body” of Saeed, by “slapping her, beating her with plastic tubing, kicking her in all parts of her body, in addition to insulting her,” the statement said.
Saeed, who reported on last year’s deadly crackdown on the Shiite-led pro-democracy protests, was summoned by police on May 22 last year, without any idea of what awaited her, said media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.
Saeed said she was badly beaten and humiliated by several policewomen after she was accused of lying in her reports. She was released after midnight, and days later the interior ministry announced proceedings against those accused of mistreating her.
An international probe commissioned by King Hamad accused police of using excessive force and torture in last year’s crackdown, which was backed by troops from Bahrain’s Gulf neighbours.
Amnesty International estimates that 60 people have been killed since then.