Kuwait City: A number of Gulf-based rights groups and activists on Monday strongly condemned Gulf states over mistreatment of women activists that included sexual harassment, torture, illegal detention and other abuses.

A statement, signed by 50 Gulf rights groups and activists, said that women activists have been targeted in most of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, especially after the start of the Arab Spring uprisings.

In Bahrain, female activists have been subjected to “sexual harassment and threatened with rape besides verbal and physical abuse” after they were held for participating in peaceful protests, the statement said.

It cited the case of female activist Rehana Al Mousawi, who claimed that she was stripped naked during interrogation while in detention a few days ago.

In the other five GCC states the statement said female activists were arrested, mistreated or unfairly sentenced to heavy jail terms for expressing views peacefully.

It condemned a 20-month jail term on Kuwaiti opposition activist Sara Al Darees for writing remarks on social network Twitter deemed offensive to the emir. The sentence was upheld last week by the appeals court.

In Saudi Arabia and Oman a number of women activists were detained and prosecuted.