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Bahrain’s king says Iran fuels the Bahraini uprising despite report

 Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa attends the presentation of an investigative report into unrest in Bahrain earlier this year in Sakhir Palace...

Mideast Bahrain

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa attends the presentation of an investigative report into unrest in Bahrain earlier this year in Sakhir Palace...

A report by an independent commission released on Wednesday said there was no clear evidence that Iran had incited the uprising, as senior Bahraini officials have contended. But Bahrain’s king insisted that Iran, a Shiite majority nation, had incited the unrest of Shiite protesters in February.

“Iran’s propaganda fueled the flames of sectarian strife — an intolerable interference in our internal affairs from which Bahrain has suffered greatly,” said Bahrain’s king Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa.

Of all the uprisings that swept the Arab world, Bahrain managed to end the unrest, largely by using coercive force. Tensions between the ruling Sunni minority and the majority Shiite population flared, and a country that was once one of the region’s most cosmopolitan is now one of its most divided.

The commission found that Bahrain’s security services and Interior Ministry “followed a systematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which amounted in many cases to torture, with respect to a large number of detainees.”

In the report, the panel called the government’s use of force and firearms “on many occasions, unnecessary, disproportionate and indiscriminate.” It cited instances in which masked men broke into the homes of dissidents at midnight, “terrorizing” inhabitants.

A total of 2,929 people were arrested during the protests, the report said, and at least 700 remain in prison. Five detainees were tortured to death while in custody, and others endured electric shocks and were beaten. Hundreds of people were injured.

Aides to the king had hoped the commission’s report would offer a starting point for reconciliation, but the opposition, which in recent weeks had indicated skepticism about the inquiry, said the report fell short.

“The report did not say the truth,” said Ali al-Aswad, a former lawmaker the main Shiite Wefaq party. “It did not say who was responsible for killing protesters and firing people from their jobs and universities and causing people to lose their homes. It failed to point the finger at senior officials.”


Updated : 2021-06-14 11:14 GMT+08:00