Bahrain 'arrests rights lawyer and doctors'

Campaigners say security forces have detained lawyer who represented leader of the Haq opposition group and two doctors.

    Manama imposed martial law and invited in troops from Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies to keep order [Reuters]

    Bahrain has detained a human rights lawyer and at least two doctors as part of a crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in the Gulf Arab kingdom, campaigners have said.

    Security forces arrested lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer on Saturday, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights and Wefaq, the biggest opposition party, said.

    "Security forces stormed his home... [at] 2am," the rights group said in a statement.

    Tajer represented Hassan Mushaimaa, leader of the Bahraini opposition group Haq, who returned from exile in London in February and was arrested last month.

    At least two doctors were also detained, said Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, a Wefaq politician. 

    "Two doctors were detained," he said. "They arrested Mohammed al-Tajer to put fear also into lawyers."

    Opposition activists have accused the government of trying to intimidate medical staff to discourage them from treating protestors.

    Sectarian clashes

    The Sunni-led state saw the worst sectarian clashes since the 1990s last month after mainly Shia protestors, emboldened by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, took to the streets.

    Manama imposed martial law and invited in troops from Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies to keep order.

    Wefaq mobilised more than 100,000 protestors during peaceful marches when the government still allowed gatherings. 

    The party called for a constitutional monarchy but did not join smaller groups in demanding the overthrow of the al-Khalifa ruling family.

    Wefaq won nearly half of seats in parliament in last year's elections but complained electoral districts had been re-drawn to prevent Shia candidates from taking a majority.

    Wefaq resigned its seats in parliament in protest at the government crackdown.

    By-elections are expected in May to replace them.

    Parliament has little power and the cabinet, appointed by the king, has been headed by the same member of the ruling family for four decades.

    Bahrain has good relations with the US and hosts the US Fifth Fleet.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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