Bahrain opposition boycotts talks after ex-MP`s arrest

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 20:21

Dubai: Bahraini opposition groups said today they have suspended their participation in national reconciliation talks aimed at ending the kingdom`s political impasse, following the arrest of a prominent Shiite ex-MP.

The five groups, including the main Shiite Al-Wefaq formation, "have decided to suspend their participation in the national dialogue," a joint statement said, a day after the arrest of Khalil Marzooq on charges of inciting terrorism.

"This decision will be continuously revised," the statement said.

Bahrain`s public prosecutor decided yesterday to hold Marzooq in custody for 30 days for further investigation.

He was charged with "inciting and advocating terrorism, and using his leadership position in a legally organised political society to incite crimes," according to a prosecution statement.

Prosecutors also accuse Marzooq of being "affiliated with (a) terrorist organisation," naming the radical February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition.

Led by Al-Wefaq, the opposition was taking part in a national dialogue that began on February 10 aimed at ending the country`s political stalemate, while keeping up street protests to call for reform.

Marzooq served as deputy speaker in the 40-member parliament before 18 MPs from the influential Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq walked out in February 2011 protesting violence against demonstrators.

In March 20122, security forces in the Sunni-ruled kingdom crushed a month of protests dominated by the country`s Shiite majority, which demanded democratic reforms.
At least 80 people have been killed since the Arab Spring-inspired pro-democracy protests erupted, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.


First Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 20:21

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