AP: Bahrain Files Lawsuit to Dissolve Secular Political Party
2017-03-06 - 11:15 p
Bahrain Mirror-AP: Bahrain's government filed a lawsuit Monday to dissolve a secular political party, the second-such organization it has targeted in the last year as part of an intense crackdown on opposition in the island nation.
The country's Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry accused Waad in a statement of "incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting (the) violent and forceful overthrow of (the) political regime." The announcement, coming just a day after Bahrain's parliament approved a constitutional amendment allowing military tribunals to try civilians , recalled the clampdown that followed the nation's 2011 Arab Spring protests.
"The society glorified convicted terrorists and saboteurs who used weapons, detonated bombs in killing and wounding several security (personnel) and also undermined citizens and residents' physical safety as well as damaged private and public properties," the statement carried on the state-run Bahrain News Agency said. "The society continuously violated the principles of the democratic political process, basic freedoms and people's participation in the process."
The Justice Ministry offered no specific examples in its statement. The government did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press to elaborate on the ministry's allegations.
Waad declined to immediately comment, but it long has been the target of authorities. One Waad politician was arrested and briefly faced charges for speaking to the AP in November during a visit by Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
Bahrain already has dissolved the country's largest Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, and doubled a prison sentence for its secretary-general, Sheikh Ali Salman.
Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base, is a predominantly Shiite island ruled by a Sunni monarchy. Government forces, with help from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, crushed the 2011 uprising by Shiites and others who sought more political power.
Since the beginning of a government crackdown in April, activists have been imprisoned or forced into exile. Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group has been dismantled. Independent news gathering on the island also has grown more difficult.
Bahrain later made reforms following a government-sponsored investigation into the 2011 demonstrations and the crackdown following it, but several of them have been overturned in recent weeks. Along with allowing military tribunals, the kingdom has restored the power of its feared domestic spy service to make some arrests.
Meanwhile, a series of attacks, including a January prison break, have targeted the island. Shiite militant groups have claimed some of the assaults. Bahrain on Saturday accused Iran's Revolutionary Guard of training and arming some militants.
In January, Bahrain executed three men found guilty of a deadly bomb attack on police. Activists allege that testimony used against the condemned men was obtained through torture.
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