World Bulletin/News Desk
The head of the Bahrain's main Shi'ite Muslim opposition group was remanded in custody for a further 15 days on Monday in a move that could further inflame sectarian tensions in the Kingdom.
Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, was arrested on Dec. 28 after leading a protest rally against elections in November which his party boycotted. Washington, a close ally of Bahrain which bases its Fifth Fleet there, has already expressed deep concern over his detention.
Late on Sunday, Salman's lawyer, Abdulla al-Shamlawi told Reuters he had been formally charged by the public prosecutor with inciting a change of government by force, inciting hatred of a segment of society, inciting others to break the law and publicly insulting the Interior Ministry.
"The secretary general of a political society shall be detained for 15 more days pending investigation," said the official Twitter account of Bahrain's Public Prosecution. It did not name Salman.
Bahraini authorities denounced what they called foreign double standards and interference following a U.S. State Department statement on Thursday criticising his detention.
Bahraini opposition activists protested in different parts of capital Manama on Monday against a decision by the country's prosecution authorities to prolong the detention.
Al-Wefaq, for its part, has accused police of using "brutal force" to suppress demonstrations, publishing photos on its website of demonstrations held in different parts of the capital.
Some photos show police firing teargas at unarmed protesters.
"Police used excessive force to disperse demonstrators," Al-Wefaq said in a statement.
The island kingdom has been gripped by tension since 2011 protests led by majority Shi'ite Muslims demanding reforms and a bigger role in running the Sunni-led country.
Bahrain has faced sporadic unrest since authorities quelled the 2011 protests with support from other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Demonstrations have increasingly given way to bomb attacks on the security forces. At least two people were killed in two separate attacks last month.Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2015, 22:10