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Bahrain accuses Shia opposition head of insulting ministry

Head of the main Shia opposition in Bahrain supposedly insulted police at opening of exhibition admonishing police response to protest

AFP , Sunday 3 Nov 2013
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Bahrain's public prosecution on Sunday accused Ali Salman, head of the main Shia opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, of allegedly insulting the interior ministry, the official BNA news agency reported.

Police summoned Salman for questioning on Saturday after Al-Wefaq opened a "Revolution Museum" on 28 October in a Shia village near Manama.

Exhibits represented the security forces' crackdown on a Shia-led protest movement demanding a constitutional monarchy for the Sunni-ruled state that began in February 2011.

Authorities later closed the museum, according to activists.

Salman was summoned "over accusations he had insulted an official body, the interior ministry," government spokeswoman Samira Rajab said in a statement published by BNA.

Rajab said Salman, as well as other members of his bloc, had made speeches at the opening of the museum that included "insults to the police and lies."

Displays presented "models, miniatures, and drawings claiming authorities ... systematically violated human rights," Rajab added.

Al-Wefaq condemned Salman's summons by the police, saying that "it is believed to be part of a campaign of political blackmail and revenge against the peaceful opposition that is demanding democracy and rejects tyranny".

This comes just over a week after leading Al-Wefaq figure Khalil Marzooq was released from jail at the opening of his trial for inciting terrorism.

Marzooq, a former MP, was arrested in September after being called for questioning and later charged by the public prosecutor with "promoting acts that amount to terrorist crimes".

At least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the Arab Spring-inspired protests erupted, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

Demonstrators frequently clash with security forces in Shia villages outside Manama.

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