Where is Ali Abdulemam?

Ali Abdulemam
Ali Abdulemam

How many ways can the world’s news media face? There is an environmental and human catastrophe brewing in Japan, and Libya seems to be temporarily cowed by the recent UN resolution. That shunts Bahraini protests into the third spot – at best – on any news bulletin.

Today English PEN received a few disturbing reports from that country that deserve a little more air. First, we’ve received reports that Ali Abdulemam, a prominent activist and ‘blog-father’ of Bahrain (so called because he set up the first free uncensored forum there) has gone missing:

His uncle described the scene last night when 50 heavily armed policemen came to arrest him, just a few weeks after he was released as a part of concessions to placate Bahraini protesters. … At around 1.15am on 18 March the housing complex in Aali where Ali rented a flat from one of his cousins awoke to hear the metal gate outside being riddled with bullets.

Ali’s twitter feed is rather chilling. It is full of chatter up until yesterday, and then there is a single curt and entirely uncharacteristic message:

I get tired from my phone so I switched it of no need for rumors plz

I note that it is the only message in the stream to have been posted from an Android phone, which is odd. Moreover, his twitter page gives the location for that tweet as 26.267457, 50.618742 which is no-where near his home in Aali… but is near the airport, Ministry of Transport and police training centre.

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