Friday, October 15, 2010

Bahraini Opposition Labelled Terrorists

In the run up to the National elections, on October 23rd, opposition activists, bloggers and Shia clerics have been arrested in what must be seen as a clampdown on freedom of speech.
Bahrain's political elite, who are almost entirely Sunni seem out of touch with their subjects, over 70% of whom are Shia. They are also extremely worried that if the elections ran freely then due to the sectarian voting tendencies of the electorate in the Middle East they could lose their grip on power, or at least see it eroded.

23 Shia Muslims were charged with terrorism, spreading false and tendentious information and forming and financing an illegal organisation aimed at stopping the state from carrying out its functions.This is a backwards step for a state which is due to hold its third round of national elections since 2002. The main cause for concern for the ruling al-Khalifa family is that, despite outrageous gerrymandering and the fact that less than a third of the 1m inhabitants can vote, the mainly shia Wefaq party may win a majority and gain control of the lower house.

Those charged are due in court on the 28th, 5 days after the polls close and if released may find that nothing has changed as a result.

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