Bahrain says it 'respects human rights' after Amnesty report

Bahrain says it 'respects human rights' after Amnesty report
Bahrain has rejected a report from Amnesty International which detailed incidents of a government crackdown on protests and dissent, often by violent means.
2 min read
08 September, 2017
Bahrain was accused of beating protesters and firing tear gas at them [Getty]
Bahrain has said a report by Amnesty International accusing its government of violently crushing dissent is "inaccurate".

Amnesty said in a report on Thursday that it had documented how the Bahraini government, from June 2016 to June 2017, had arrested, tortured, threatened or banned from travel at least 169 activists and opponents or their relatives.

It also accused in particular Britain and the United States, who both have military facilities in Bahrain, of turning a blind eye to abuses.

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Kingdom of Bahrain regrets inaccuracies contained in Amnesty International's report," the ministry said on its Twitter account.

It gave no details.

"MoFA stresses commitment of Kingdom of Bahrain to respect and promote freedoms and human rights principles."

Amnesty International said it had documented security officers beating protesters, firing tear gas, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles directly at protesters and driving armoured vehicles and personnel carriers into protests.

Bahrain has been a flashpoint since the Sunni-led government put down Arab Spring protests in 2011. The kingdom, most of whose population is Shia, says it faces a threat from neighbouring Shia theocracy Iran.

Entitled "No one can protect you: Bahrain's year of crushing dissent", the Amnesty report said at least six people had been killed, including a child, in the crackdowns.

Bahrain has intensified a crackdown on critics, shutting down two main political groups, revoking the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the Shia Muslim community and jailing rights campaigners.

In a similiar denial of accusations of human rights abuses, Egypt on Friday responded to a critical report from Human Rights Watch on alleged toture in its prisons by blocking the rights watchdog's website in the country.