Bahrain hiding atrocities?

April 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, April 27 (UPI) -- Security forces in Bahrain are arresting health workers to keep the number of dead and wounded away from the public, an opposition leader alleges.

Bahrain is facing scrutiny for its response to a Shiite uprising against the country's minority Sunni leadership. Human rights groups claim authorities are arresting hospital staff and some patients suspected of taking part in protests.

Mattar Ibrahim Matter, a former lawmaker with the al-Wefaq party, told al-Jazeera that authorities in Manama were trying to "hide the situation."

Wefaq, the country's largest Shiite political party, was banned by the Sunni leadership April 14 for allegedly breaking the law during mass protests and for inciting violence. The party in 2009 took 18 seats in the 40-member Parliament.

The group Physicians for Human Rights said it had forensic evidence that Bahraini security forces attacked medical staff and patients with bullets and chemical agents.

Last month, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the March 16 seizure by security forces of a hospital in Bahrain as "shocking and illegal conduct."

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