Bahraini protest ban concerns U.N.

Nov. 2, 2012 at 10:33 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was concerned about restrictions mandated by authorities in Bahrain on public protests.

"The secretary-general believes these restrictions could aggravate the situation in the country and urges the government of Bahrain to lift them without delay," a statement from Ban's spokesman read. "The secretary-general also calls on protesters to ensure that any demonstrations are, in fact, peaceful."

Bahrain's Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa said, in a statement published by the official Bahrain News Agency, that a ban on public demonstrations was a "temporary" order in place until national security is restored.

Dozens of people were killed during anti-government demonstrations last year. The official news agency reported that a police officer was killed in an attack a few days before celebrations marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha last week.

Ban reminded Bahraini authorities of their obligation to respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

BNA reported Friday that a criminal court sentenced a Bahraini man to six months in jail for making derogatory remarks on his personal Twitter account against the kingdom's monarchy. Authorities confiscated the man's cellular phone and personal computer that were "used in the crime."

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