Bahrain cites youth support for reform

July 29, 2013 at 1:05 PM
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MANAMA, Bahrain, July 29 (UPI) -- Bahrain's government said Monday youth activists view national security laws as helpful in the fight against political violence.

The National Assembly passed legislation Sunday imposing stiff penalties for those accused of committing acts of terrorism. CNN reported Monday the rules were seen as a response to mass demonstrations planned by opposition leaders Aug. 14.

The rules also ban protests in Manama.

The official Bahrain News Agency said student activists expressed support for the legislation. The news agency said it spoke with Fatima al-Harbi, identified as a member of Amnesty International, who said the youth of Bahrain were interested in removing anything posing a threat to the nation's future.

There was no public statement Monday from AI.

Bahrain was criticized for a deadly crackdown on opposition leaders who led an uprising against the Sunni-led monarchy in 2011. Its human rights record has been criticized by civic organizations that say the government is working to silence its critics.

Bahrain says is committed to a series of reforms outlined by a independent committee of inquiry investigating the government's response to the 2011 uprising.

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