Bahrain detains prominent human rights activist

AFP , Saturday 3 Nov 2012

Seven Bahraini activists was detained by the police for their participation on anti-government protest

Bahrain authorities on Saturday ordered the detention for seven days of a senior Shiite activist, accusing him of taking part in a banned demonstration, his lawyer said on social network Twitter on Saturday.

Yosuf al-Mahafdha, a member of the board of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested late on Friday in the Shiite village of Darraz near Manama where an unauthorised protest took place, Mohammed al-Wasta wrote.

Mahafdha, in a separate statement on Twitter, said he had gone into Darraz "at the end of the protest" and saw people carrying away someone who was injured.

The activist tweeted that relatives of the wounded person, whom he did not identify, said he was standing outside his home when he was hit by buckshot.

Witnesses reported dozens of protesters taking to the streets of Shiite villages around the Bahraini capital on Friday, including Darraz, chanting anti-government slogans in defiance of an official ban on protests.

Bahrain on Tuesday banned all protests and gatherings to ensure "security is maintained," after a spate of clashes between Shiite-led demonstrators and security forces in the Sunni-ruled country.

The Gulf state has been shaken by unrest since its forces in March last year crushed a month of popular Shiite-led protests demanding greater rights and an end to what they said was discrimination by the Sunni royal family.

Tuesday's ban triggered international condemnation, prompting Bahrain to say later it was only temporary.

The International Federation for Human Rights says 80 people have died since the start of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising on February 14, 2011.

Mahafdha has been probing whether Bahraini authorities have violated the rights of prominent Shiite activist Nabeel Rajab who is serving a three-year sentence for taking part in anti-regime protests.

Rajab, 48, went on hunger strike on October 6 after the authorities denied his request to attend a three-day condolences gathering for his mother.

The government did release him temporarily for her funeral on October 4, where he allegedly "violated" the terms of his release by urging Shiites to continue anti-government protests.

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