An Iranian national, Fadhila Mubarak Ahmed, became the first woman to be convicted by the Bahraini authorities for imperiling national safety in the unrest-hit country, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Ms. Ahmed received a four-year sentence on charges of assault on a public officer, incitement for hatred of the regime, participation in a rally with the intent to commit crimes and undermining public order, the UAE-based Gulf News reported.
The National Safety Court of First Instance, described the defendant on March 27 as speeding as she approached a security checkpoint with her car’s audio system blaring anti-regime statements.
During her arrest by the public security, Ms. Ahmed reportedly grabbed the shirt of one of security personnel before pushing him.
Investigations by the court also revealed that she took part in a rally at the Pearl Roundabout, the epicenter of Shiite-led protests in February 2011 and March, during which demonstrators demanded a constitutional monarchy to give more representation to the Bahraini Shiite majority. A minority Sunni royal family has ruled Bahrain for more than 200 years.
The court, in another first, sentenced an Iranian national, Mohammad Qassim Ghuloom Hussain, to two years in prison followed by deportation for taking part in two rallies near the Safriya Palace and Pearl Roundabout.
The court also sentenced six defendants to terms between one and four years for their alleged roles in the unrest.
Three defendants were acquitted.
But verdicts by the lower court, adjudicating the state of national safety, are not final and can be appealed within two weeks.
It is not the first time that Bahrain acted against foreigners in the name of national security amid the unrest unleashed in the country.
For example, more than 15 Lebanese living in Bahrain have been expelled by the security forces, following a speech by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in which he expressed support for the demands of the Bahraini opposition.
Joining opposition rallies has also backfired against several Bahraini athletes who were expelled from their respective teams for doing so.
The Bahraini unrest has created a fault line in the region. Shiites in all of Iraq, Lebanon and Iran have mostly showed solidarity with Bahraini Shiites. Iran has been actively encouraging protestors.
(Dina Al-Shibeeb, an editor at Al Arabiya, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)