World Bulletin/News Desk
Bahrain has arrested a prominent human rights activist and critic of the country's ruling family, the ministry of interior and an activist said on Sunday, as the authorities cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.
Police arrested Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), when he returned from Beirut on Saturday evening, Sayed Yousif Almuhafda, a member of the BCHR told Reuters.
"The police arrested him near the plane's door. They said they had an arrest warrant from the public prosecutions office ... He was allowed to call his family after the arrest yesterday but they could not see him," Almuhafda said by telephone from Manama.
"We don't know what the new charges are yet," he said, adding that Rajab is already facing old charges of calling for and taking part in unauthorised protests.
In an online statement, Bahrain's Ministry of Interior confirmed Rajab's arrest "for committing a number of crimes punishable by law". It gave no more details.
Bahrain has been in turmoil since activists mainly from the majority Shi'ite community began protests in February 2011 after successful popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
The authorities tried to crush the uprising for democratic reforms with martial law and by bringing in Saudi troops, accusing activists of cooperating with Shi'ite Iran to change the system of government.
The ferocity of the crackdown stunned the Shi'ite community and more than a year later, unrest persists with weekly mass rallies by opposition parties and clashes between youth activists and riot police.
On Saturday, an improvised bomb wounded four Bahraini policemen as police clashed again with protesters demanding the release of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a jailed rights activist on hunger strike.
Rajab had been previously detained during a crackdown on Shi'ite protesters last year. Before this he had spoken to media about the crackdown and the BCHR had put out statements accusing Bahraini forces and their Saudi and Emirati allies of "massacres".
Chaos erupted in the Knesset as several members charged and tried to attack Arab member Hanin Zoabi for referring to the IDF soldiers as murdererss
According to Israeli media, about 40 Palestinians are alleged to have joined the notorious terror group
The PYD, the Syrian arm of the PKK armed group, captured Tal Abyad from ISIL last year
Cairo court calls for retrial of 494 people arrested in wake of 2013 military coup
- Approval comes despite objections by security cabinet’s most right-wing members
Egypt has kept the border with Gaza mostly sealed since Morsi's ouster
Turkish armed forces and U.S.-led coalition strike more ISIL positions in northern Syria on Tuesday, military says
The Revolutionary Guard is an elite force separate from the regular army, and is charged with defending the Islamic Republic.
Syrian rebel fighters began an operation on Tuesday to capture a town held by ISIL at the Iraqi border
Non-governmental groups have written to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon saying that peace talks meant little when there was a increasing death toll in Syria
Egyptian investigators confirmed the aircraft had made a 90-degree left turn followed by a 360-degree turn to the right before hitting the sea.
Clashes between Kurdish rebels and Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards killed over a dozen near the Iraqi border.
Move comes one day after village near border with Syria is rocked by spate of suicide bombings
35 ISIL targets struck in northern Syria, say Turkish security officials
Suicide bombers posing as Iftar distributors kill at least 38 Yemeni soldiers and injure 24 in Yemen's southeast.