Gulf | Bahrain

Opposition refuses to condemn violence

Al Wefaq official argues that violence from police should also be condemned

  • By Mick O’Reilly and Habib Toumi Senior Associate Editor and Bahrain Bureau Chief
  • Published: 18:05 February 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Heading into the National Dialogue talks on Wednesday evening, Jameel Kadhem, the opposition Al Wefaq representative and the spokesman for the main opposition societies, refused to explicitly condemn the street violence, as demanded by pro-government societies.

“We say that all violence from all parties needs to be condemned,” he said, referring to opposition demands that police and security forces rein in their tactics used against the protesters.

Five societies taking part in the talks refused to endorse an anti-violence document. Two Sunni alliances boycotted the talks on Wednesday night to protest against the street violence.

Speaking to Gulf News on Wednesday evening during the National Dialogue talks, MP Lateefa Al Gaood said the violence had to stop and all political societies and participants needed to send a strong message that it needed to end.

“To the parents of those children and teens on [the] street I would say this: ‘Bring your children home and stop them from criminal acts. We cannot continue in an atmosphere of intimidation,” she said.

And she said that the recently uncovered terrorist cell allegedly headed by four Iranians was a worrying development.

“We need to work on our own problems ourselves,” she said. “Iran cannot and must not meddle in our affairs. These [arrested terror cell members] were plotting to overthrow the government. This is a very serious development and I will be raising it at the talks.”

Meanwhile, a Bahraini rights watchdog has condemned the publication of the names and pictures of alleged terror suspects, saying that it violated the country’s constitution.

“We totally reject the publication in official and private media of the names and pictures of suspects in the terror cell case,” the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR) said.

“All media should abide by the constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Article 20c that stipulates that a suspect is innocent until charged by a court of law. They should also comply with Article 83 of Law By Decree 46/2002 on investigations,” the NIHR said in a statement published on its website.

The watchdog said that the decision to publish the names and photos was also against international covenants.

Bahrain on Tuesday said that it busted a 12-member terror cell masterminded by a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard codenamed Abu Nasser.

Major General Tareq Al Hassan, the head of Public Security, said that the cell members, eight Bahrainis and four foreigners, were recruited by a Bahraini who collaborated with two Bahrainis living in the Iranian holy city of Qum.

The cell targets in Bahrain included attacks on civilian and military installations as well as public figures, taking pictures and collecting information about sensitive areas and sites, setting up armed groups to fight and attack security staff and mobilising people to join the groups.

The names and pictures of the cell members were printed by most of the local dailies.

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