Friday, March 25, 2011

'Bahrain protesters face Draconian laws'

A file photo of Bahrain protests

Source: Press TV

A senior leader of Bahrain Freedom Movement says the small Persian Gulf monarchy is under a junta rule meting out severe punishments on any protests.

“The military authorities…are now running the country, running the show, running the hospitals and they are running the media,” Saeed al-Shahabi, a top member of the movement said in a Friday interview with Press TV.

“So we are under a military takeover, a military regime that has suspended civil liberties and is imposing draconian laws on the people,” he added.

His comments come in the wake of Bahrain's heavy-handed crackdown on anti-government protesters that have been seeking political reforms in the tiny island nation.

Shahabi warned of further brutal suppression of protests and said the government has imposed an information blackout in the country and the outside world receives a fraction of information trickling out of the country.

At least 21 people, mostly protesters, have been killed since the start of the recent uprising in Bahrain, with the most recent victim dying on Thursday from gunshot wounds sustained in the previous week.

Shahabi noted that the casualty figure is expected to rise as Bahrainis prepare for more protests against the kingdom.

Amnesty International has condemned Bahrain's brutal crackdown on protesters ahead of mass demonstrations planned to follow Friday Prayers.

"Amnesty International believes that they have been detained solely for their criticism of and involvement in the protests and that therefore they are prisoners of conscience," the London-based human rights group stated on Thursday.

A “Day of Rage” has been called on Friday across the country by the February 14 Youth Movement. It is planning to break the recently enforced three-month state of emergency, which bans public gatherings.

Earlier this week, the United Nations Human Rights Office criticized Bahrain for violating international law by targeting activists and medical staff.

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