Bahrain charges 169 for forming another 'Hezbollah'
The kingdom has witnessed unrest since 2011 when authorities crushed pro-democracy protests [Hasan Jamali/AP]
Bahrain has detained and accused 169 folks of forming “Bahrain’s Hezbollah”, an area version of the armed Shia group located in Lebanon.
The announcement follows scores of arrests and harsh penalties imposed in the Western-allied Gulf state on defendants accused of armed rebellion, while activists say they’re peaceful opposition members.
The small but strategic Arab kingdom has been dogged by persistent low-level violence since 2011 when its Sunni minority rulers violently suppressed Shia activist-led protests for a constitutional monarchy having an elected prime minister.
Authorities have repeatedly allies accused Iran also it, including Hezbollah, of fomenting the unrest, a charge denied by Tehran.
Attorney-General Ahmad al-Hamadi said 169 people, 111 of whom come in custody, will undoubtedly be tried for “forming a terrorist organisation… beneath the true name Bahrain Hezbollah”, in collaboration with Iranian intelligence services.
Hamadi didn’t specify once the trial would open or once the defendants were arrested. It had been not clear should they had lawyer also.
He said a number of the detainees were accused of travelling abroad to get trained in weapons and explosives from Iran and its own regional allies.
Analysts have expressed scepticism about previous Bahraini allegations of Hezbollah and Iranian involvement.
Hezbollah is probably the best trained and equipped armed groups on earth, some of the Bahrain violence has contains petrol and stone-throwing bombs fond of police patrols, or planting crude pipe bombs.
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Crackdown on dissent
The authorities have closed most peaceful avenues for protest, banning the primary Shia movement Al-Wefaq, that was the biggest bloc in parliament, and throwing a large number of its leaders behind bars.
They and their Gulf Arab allies also have blacklisted Hezbollah as a “terrorist organisation” and banned their citizens from any connection with the group or its members.
The crackdown has drawn periodic criticism from Western governments, however the kingdom’s strategic position just over the Gulf from Iran helps it be an integral ally.
The islands are home to the united states Fifth Fleet and house a fresh British naval base completed earlier this season.
The US and rights groups have accused Bahrain’s government of crushing dissent and violently cracking down on protests and members of a peaceful political opposition.