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FACTDROP: Bahrain unrest report expected to criticise government


Bahrain unrest report expected to criticise government

Anger is still widespread within Bahrain's Shia majority over the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations

Πηγή: BBC
Nov 23 2011

An independent commission in Bahrain is due to deliver a report on the violent suppression of anti-government protests earlier this year.

The commission, made up of international legal experts, is expected to be highly critical of the Bahraini authorities.

More than 40 people have been killed as security forces clamped down on the protests.

The police have also been accused of torturing detained activists.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was set up in June to investigate alleged human rights violations when the protests were suppressed in February and March 2011.

The five commissioners, all of whom come from outside Bahrain, can also make recommendations on how to end sectarian tensions.

The inquiry has interviewed more than 5,000 people, including hundreds who say they were tortured in prison.

More than 1,600 people have been arrested during the protests, which have continued sporadically since the peak of the unrest eight months ago.

Deep divisions

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, reporting from Bahrain, says the report is expected to confirm that widespread human rights abuses took place, including the use of torture in interrogations.

Bahrain has a majority Shia Muslim population and the violence has fuelled anger against the ruling Sunni royal family and political elite.

Our correspondent says the mainly Shia protesters will be watching very closely to see how the King reacts when he receives the report.

If the monarch accepts that his government was responsible and acts to change the way the country is run, then the outcome could be positive, our correspondent says.

If not, then more violence is likely to lie ahead.

In advance of the report's publication, the government of Bahrain has already acknowledged some failings.

"Regrettably, there have been instances of excessive force and mistreatment of detainees," it said in a statement on Monday.

A government spokesman, Sheikh Abdulaziz Alkhalifaa, told the BBC: "We are in a very polarised society".

"In order to move forward we need to find out the truth."

"I think the report will tell us exactly what happened since February and only then can we use this as a road map to bridge the divide between all communities here in the country," he said.

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