Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bahrain: "no mercy" for opponents

The crown prince of Bahrain has warned that there would be "no mercy" for those seeking to divide the Gulf kingdom, shaken since mid-February by a vast protest movement. Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, considered a moderate reformer within the ruling family, spoke Thursday night April 7 at the Bahrain TV.

"In this important moment in the development of our country (...) I will continue to stand firm on the principle that there can be no mercy for anyone who seeks to divide our society into two," he said. The Sunni ruling family has declared martial law in March and called for troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), military and political alliance in the Gulf, to quell the demonstrations for democracy organized mainly by the Shiite majority.

Since then, members of the main Shiite opposition Wefaq and many residents have complained of missing Shiites at checkpoints set up around Manama, the capital, where hooded military officiate. They claim that hundreds of people - politicians, activists, doctors supported the protest - were arrested and several hundred employees, mostly Shiites, were dismissed.

Commentators believe that Sheikh Salman, who advocated seeking a dialogue with the opposition, lost his battle with hardliners in his own family, and the radicals on both sides, government and opposition voices now prevent more moderate voice. The organization of human rights Human Rights Watch has denounced arbitrary arrests Friday in Bahrain and reported evidence of abuse against detainees.

"The Emergency Law allows authorities to trample basic human rights," said Joe Stork, deputy director of HRW's Middle East.

No comments:

Post a Comment