Bahrain Deports U.S. Teacher for "inciting hatred against members of the Royal Family"

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Picture tweeted by Bahrain Minister of State for Communications claiming
to show the bedroom of a recently deported US teacher (Source)

Bahrain has deported a US citizen who was working as a teacher in Riffa. The Washington Post reports that the woman, Erin Kilbride, from Portland, Maine, arrived back in the US on Saturday. She also works as a co-editor of online publication Muftah.

Bahrain's News Agency (BNA) claims that she was been deported from the Kingdom following findings by the Ministry of State for Communications that she had published writings on social media as well as other "activities linked to radical Opposition groups". In the statement, she is accused of writing "under an undisclosed pen name" and "working illegally as an unaccredited journalist". To date, Kilbride has not made any public comments on the matter.

The Minister for Communications took to Twitter to comment on the story. In a series of tweets, he congratulated his staff for identifying the anonymous social media account that Kilbride was using. He also tweeted a photograph which he claims shows a Hezbollah flag hanging in her bedroom, over what appears to be a framed picture or poster (see image above). Pro-government accounts on Twitter have gone further - posting pictures of Erin and making additional allegations against her.

Translation of the Tweets

"I thank the team at the Ministry of State for Communications for their work in exposing the truth of an anonymous character working on social networking sites ..continued

With the grace of God we have moved a kindergarden teacher of American nationality from the country this morning after uncovering her suspicious activity on social networking sites…continued

It is worth mentioning that the deported American had been in contact with media belonging to Hezbollah under her disguised profession of teaching…continued

And she was working on sending media reports to a banned Bahraini organization as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah backed newspaper Al-Safir…continued

Image of the apartment of the deported foreign kindergarden teacher appear showing hanging of Lebanese Hezbollah flag."

Erin is not the first expat working in education to be forced to leave Bahrain. In 2011, Australian teacher Tony Mitchell was deported from Bahrain after posting videos of the uprising to his Facebook page. Dr Mike Diboll was also forced to leave the country, after being an eyewitness to a brutal attack on students at the University of Bahrain. His employees subsequently told him that they had monitored his internet activity and found him to be "in breach of contract".

BNA's statement reads in part:

"The Ministry of State for Communications (MoSC) received a complaint about an individual using Twitter and a number of websites to publish articles on Bahrain that were deemed to incite hatred against the government and members of the Royal family, as well as spreading misinformation and encouraging divisions in Bahraini society based on religious sect.

The American woman, who writes under an undisclosed pen name, violated the Labor Laws of Bahrain by working illegally as an unaccredited journalist while employed as a teacher. She has published a number of articles for online journals including Muftah (where she holds the titles of Co-Editor and works as a reporter), Lebanon’s Hizbullah-linked As-Safir newspaper and the illegal Bahrain Center for Human Rights Newsletter, among others."

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