Europe presses Bahrain on political prisoners

Feb. 7, 2014 at 11:21 AM

STRASBOURG, France, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Members of the European Parliament called on authorities in Bahrain to release all political prisoners and peaceful protesters from custody.

The European Parliament passed a measure Thursday stating their "grave concern" for the welfare of political activists held in detention in Bahrain.

They called for the "immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters."

Members said Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy chief for the European Union, was calling on all member states to develop a "clear strategy" to convince Bahrain to get in line with conventional human rights norms.

Bahrain's human rights record has come up against criticism from groups like Human Rights Watch, who say the Sunni-led monarchy is trying to silence its critics.

Bahrain says it is committed to reforms recommended by an independent panel that investigated the government's response to a Shiite-led uprising in 2011.

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