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October 18, 2011

Tortured Bahraini Women Show Why U.S. Arms Sale Must Stop

In this special edition of FirstCast, we feature the voices of two brave women who have been detained the longest in Bahrain in connection to the crackdown of pro-democracy advocates.

Roula al-Safar is a nurse, a humanitarian, and the head of the Bahrain Nursing Association who was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Jaleela al-Salman is a teacher and vice president of the Bahrain Teachers Association. She was sentenced to three years in prison and was awaiting an appeal under civilian court.

BREAKING: Masked security forces in civilian clothing broke into Jaleela's house at 3:00am today for the second time this year. They claimed to be executing a court order but carried no warrant of arrest. Neither her no her lawyer had received an official notice  prior to her arrest.

This special podcast carries Jaleela's latest testimony of torture while in detention in Bahrain. At the same time that the Bahraini government is violently cracking down on pro-democracy advocates, the U.S. Department of Defense is now preparing to sell $53 million worth of armored Humvees and missiles to the dictatorship in Bahrain. The testimonies of these two courageous women show why this arms sale must stop--a proposal that is at odds with United States foreign policy goals of promoting democracy, human rights, accountability, and stability in the Middle East.