Bahrain Arrests 2 former Shi’ite MP’s

From http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/bahrain-arrests-two-former-shiite-mps-source

02 May 2011 19:30

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Two former Wefaq MPs arrested – source

* Government earlier sought to dissolve group

MANAMA, May 2 (Reuters) – Bahrain arrested on Monday two former members of parliament from the main Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq, a source close to the group said.

The Sunni-ruled island launched a security crackdown in March after it declared martial law and crushed weeks of mostly Shi’ite anti-government protests that demanded a bigger say in political and economic affairs.

It has arrested hundreds in raids on Shi’ite villages, fired hundreds of Shi’ite workers from state-owned companies and sentenced to death four men accused of killing two policemen during the unrest.

A source close to Wefaq named the two detained former MPs as Mattar Mattar and Jawad Fairooz.

“They have disappeared, nobody knows where they are at the moment,” said the source who did not wish to be identified. “Plain clothes police came to Jawad’s house and took him,” the source told Reuters.

It was not immediately clear whether the two were arrested or detained for questioning. Officials at Wefaq and government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wefaq resigned from parliament, which has limited power, in February to protest police violence against protesters. Parliament later accepted the resignation of 11 of Wefaq’s 18 deputies in the 40-seats assembly, including Mattar and Fairooz.

Wefaq has called for a constitutional monarchy in Bahrain to give more power to the disgruntled Shi’ite majority population but has not called for the ouster of the Sunni ruling family like smaller but more radical Shi’ite groups.

The government said last month it would seek to dissolve the group, but appeared to back down after criticism from the United States. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

The United States and top oil exporter Saudi Arabia see Bahrain’s ruling family as a bulwark against the regional influence of Shi’ite power Iran and Bahrain in March invited troops from its Sunni Gulf neighbours to help quell the unrest.

Government officials say authorities only target those who committed crimes during the unrest.

(Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Diana Abdallah)

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About dominickavakeb
Dominic Kavakeb is a recent Masters graduate in International Journalism from City University, London. He lives in London and is of British/ Middle Eastern origin.

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