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Gulf group urges release of detainees, end to oppression

A call on conservative Gulf monarchies to free political prisoners and stop the security crackdown on those wanting democratic reforms was issued by the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies

AFP , Sunday 16 Dec 2012
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A Gulf civil society organisation on Sunday called on the conservative Gulf monarchies to free all political prisoners and stop the security crackdown on those wanting democratic reforms.

The call came in a communique issued by the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies (GFCS) following its two-day general conference held in Beirut on December 14 and 15.

The group called for the "release of all political detainees, prisoners of conscience, those defending human rights and civil society activists and to allow them to operate freely and peacefully."

The group, comprising dozens of liberal political and rights activists, writers and thinkers also called for halting "political trials" of rights activists in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

GCC states -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia -- have been cracking down on political and rights activists demanding fundamental democratic reforms in the wake of Arab Spring movements.

Scores have been arrested in Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

The GFCS also urged GCC monarchies to free media from the control of the state and to offer GCC people the right to free assembly and gatherings.

The group called for an end to the policy of selective naturalisation to manipulate the demographic composition, especially in Bahrain, and to stop using withdrawals of citizenship as a means to punish opponents -- a move carried out by the UAE and Bahrain.

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