A Bahraini man passes a wall Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, in the Shiite village of Karzakan, Bahrain, that is sprayed with images of people who have died in anti-government unrest. (Photo:AP)
Bahrain has denounced Human Rights Watch (HRW) for its criticism of the Gulf kingdom's cancellation of its bar association's internal elections, saying the rights group's remarks were unprofessional and inaccurate.
In a statement on the official BNA news agency late on Wednesday, Bahrain's Human Rights and Social Development ministry accused HRW of using "terms which we believe may reflect personal opinions, and are unprofessional."
"The organisation's statement made no attempt at accuracy, and it did not contact the ministry inquire about the basis for cancelling the illegitimate elections," it said.
On Tuesday, HRW said the ministry was "brazen in violating international standards for freedom of association" for cancelling results of an election for the board of the Bahraini Lawyers' Society in November.
Bahrain has said it is implementing the recommendations of an inquiry it had commissioned into protests it crushed earlier this year that were led by its Shi'ite majority and aimed to limit the Sunni ruling family's power.
Washington, which houses its Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, has linked a $53 million arms sale to the kingdom's response to that inquiry, which found detainees had died under torture and disputed Bahrain's claim that Iran fomented the unrest through its fellow Shi'ites.