Agence France Presse
DUBAI: The lawyer of a Bahraini journalist charged with working for foreign media without the proper permit demanded her acquittal Tuesday, arguing that she was indeed accredited, a judicial source said.
The trial of Nazeeha Saeed, a correspondent for France 24 and the Arabic-language Monte Carlo Doualiya radio station, opened on Jan. 16, following charges she worked as a correspondent despite her permit having expired.
Saeed's lawyer demanded her acquittal, saying the reporter already had a permit and applied for it to be renewed a day before its expiry, the source said.
Saeed has not appeared in court since the trial began, the source said.
The court set May 25 as the date for its verdict.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and French public radio broadcaster France Medias Monde (FMM) had urged authorities in the Gulf kingdom to "abandon their prosecution" of Saeed ahead of the trial.
RSF said Saeed was facing a possible fine of up to 1,000 dinars ($2,653) if convicted, after a complaint filed by an information ministry official last summer.
The press freedom group said her situation had been delicate since June, "when she learned that the authorities refused to renew her accreditation as the Bahraini correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya", both part of FMM.
Saeed has been in trouble with authorities in the Sunni-ruled kingdom in the past over her coverage of a crackdown on 2011 protests led by the Shiite majority.
In October 2012, a Bahraini court acquitted a female police officer accused by Saeed of torturing her while she was held briefly in custody.
Saeed said at the time she had been badly beaten and humiliated by several policewomen after being accused of lying in her reporting.
After she was released, the interior ministry announced proceedings against those accused of mistreating her.
Home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.