News / Middle East

Bahrain Opposition Boycotts Talks After Leader Held

Anti-government protesters affiliated with the opposition Al Wefaq movement, defying a ban on protest marches, shout anti-government slogans in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, September 13, 2013.Anti-government protesters affiliated with the opposition Al Wefaq movement, defying a ban on protest marches, shout anti-government slogans in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, September 13, 2013.
x
Anti-government protesters affiliated with the opposition Al Wefaq movement, defying a ban on protest marches, shout anti-government slogans in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, September 13, 2013.
Anti-government protesters affiliated with the opposition Al Wefaq movement, defying a ban on protest marches, shout anti-government slogans in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, September 13, 2013.
Reuters
Bahrain's largest opposition movement on Wednesday suspended its participation in talks with the government aimed at ending two and a half years of political turmoil in protest at the arrest of its deputy leader.

Al Wefaq was responding to an announcement by the public prosecutor of the Gulf Arab kingdom that Khalil al-Marzouq would be held for 30 days while being investigated for inciting terrorism in a series of speeches.

In a statement, Al Wefaq, an Islamist group that says it advocates non-violent methods, said it would temporarily boycott a so-called national dialogue aimed at resolving a crisis that began with mass pro-democracy protests in February 2011.

The group would keep its position under constant review “in light of political and human rights developments on the ground.”

The talks began in February but have become bogged down in procedural issues amid an atmosphere of mutual mistrust, with little apparent narrowing of differences on the opposition's main demand for an elected government.

Persistent unrest since February 2011, when an uprising led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority demanded the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty give up power, has placed Bahrain on the front line of a struggle for regional influence between Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

Shi'ites have long complained of entrenched discrimination in areas such as employment and public services, despite the denials of the Sunni-led government. The government denies any discrimination.

Al Wefaq demands a constitutional monarchy with a government chosen from within a democratically elected parliament.

The government quelled the 2011 revolt, one of a series of “Arab Spring” upheavals, but protests and clashes have carried on. An international inquiry said in a November 2011 report that 35 people had died during the uprising - mainly protesters - but also included were five security personnel and seven foreigners.

Bahrain's head of public prosecution, Nayef Yousfi, said police investigations showed Marzouq had spoken at many forums promoting what they described as terrorism, the most recent of which was a speech at Saar district west of the capital Manama on September 6.

At that event, he raised the flag of the opposition group, the February 14 Coalition, said Yousfi. He described the group, a network of activists that uses social media to organize anti-government protests, as a terrorist organization.

Yousfi said Marzouq was interrogated in the presence of his lawyer and subsequently “charged under the Law for Protecting the Community from Terrorist Acts, with inciting and advocating terrorism, and using his leadership position in a legally organized political society to incite crimes.”

The kingdom hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet and is seen in the West as a key regional ally. The government has accused Iran of fomenting unrest in Bahrain, a charge Tehran denies.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More