Bahrain police interrogate opposition chiefs

Bahraini police today questioned the head of the largest Shiite opposition who was summoned after a meeting with a US official later declared unwelcome in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

AFP| Updated: Jul 09, 2014, 15:54 PM IST

Dubai: Bahraini police today questioned the head of the largest Shiite opposition who was summoned after a meeting with a US official later declared unwelcome in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Cleric Ali Salman, the head of Al-Wefaq association, was summoned yesterday along with his political assistant, ex-MP Khalil Marzooq, by Bahrain`s Public Security, which did not specify the reasons.

Salman was questioned at police headquarters, Al-Wefaq said on its official Facebook page, posting a picture of the cleric and his lawyers leaving after the interrogation.

Marzooq, who was last month acquitted on charges of inciting terrorism, was scheduled to be questioned later today.
The interrogations come a day after Bahrain declared visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Tom Malinowski, "unwelcome" after he met Salman and other opposition leaders, and demanded his immediate departure.

Bahrain`s foreign ministry said Malinowski had met "with a particular party to the detriment of other interlocutors," describing his action as an "interference in its internal affairs."

Malinowski was the Washington director for Human Rights Watch, a vocal critic of Manama`s crackdown on protests, until April when he became assistant secretary of state.

Shiite-led protests erupted in Bahrain, home base of the US Fifth Fleet, in February 2011, taking their cue from uprisings elsewhere in the region and demanding democratic reforms in the absolute monarchy.

Security forces boosted by Saudi-led troops ended the protests a month later, but smaller demonstrations frequently take place in Shiite villages, triggering clashes with police.