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Rights groups wants Bahrain torture probe

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Foreign clerics confront Iranian policemen in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 8, 2011. Hundreds of foreign clerics living in Iran protested in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy condemning the Saudi military support for the Bahrain government. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian
Foreign clerics confront Iranian policemen in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 8, 2011. Hundreds of foreign clerics living in Iran protested in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy condemning the Saudi military support for the Bahrain government. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo

MANAMA, Bahrain, April 14 (UPI) -- There needs to be an independent probe into allegations of torture in Bahrain after an activist was reported dead after his arrest, a rights group said.

Bahraini activist Kareem Fakhrawi was reported dead Tuesday following an April 3 arrest. Human Rights Watch said photos of his corpse showed apparent bruises on his body and blood on his neck, though the advocacy group noted it did not see Fakhrawi firsthand.

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HRW in a statement noted authorities in Manama said the 49-year-old died from kidney failure.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said Bahraini authorities are keeping people in the dark about detentions, noting a troubling rise in deaths reported in the country.

"Bahrain is flagrantly violating the most basic human rights by arbitrarily detaining hundreds, keeping their whereabouts secret, and covering up the reasons for deaths in custody," Stork said in a statement.

The ruling Sunni minority in Bahrain is under criticism for its violent reaction to an uprising by the country's Shiite majority.

Washington this week issued a travel advisory for Bahrain and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said political dialogue was the best way forward to address the grievances of the Bahraini people.

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