Rights groups critical of Bahrain

Feb. 14, 2013 at 11:58 AM

PARIS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A consortium of human rights groups expressed concern Thursday from Paris that Bahrain was bent on silencing voices critical of the Sunni-led monarchy.

Thursday marks the second anniversary of an uprising against Bahrain's monarchy. Dozens of protesters were killed during the conflict, sparking concern from members of the international community.

A report from the International Federation of Human Rights and the World Organization Against Torture said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, remains jailed. Rajab is named also as a deputy secretary general of the rights federation.

The federation said it noted revealed "serious human rights" issues while monitoring Rajab's trial last year.

"Rajab's trial reflects Bahrain's policy and practice of criminalizing the exercise of the right to freedoms of association, expression and peaceful assembly and silencing human rights defenders and other dissenting voices," said organization Secretary-General Gerald Staberock.

Bahrain recently announced plans for a national dialogue aimed at political reconciliation. The government stresses that it's committed to reforms spelled out by an independent panel of inquiry that probed the crackdown on the 2011 demonstrations.

The official Bahrain News Agency reports Thursday that authorities fired warning shots at demonstrators marking the anniversary of the uprising.

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