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Bahrain

Bahrain seeks to suspend al-Wefaq

Bahrain’s Justice Ministry has asked a court to suspend the activities of the country’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq.

The ministry asked for a three-month suspension of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society “so that it can correct its legal status,” state news agency BNA reported on Sunday.

The ministry claimed that the group has lost its legal status after the annulment of four of its general conferences and a failure to follow approved procedures.

On July 10, al-Wefaq’s leader Sheikh Ali Salman and his political assistant, Khalil al-Marzouq, were charged with violating the country’s law on foreign contacts for holding a meeting with Tom Malinowski, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor on July 6.

Bahrain’s public prosecutors’ office said that the two should have obtained permission before meeting Malinowski at the US embassy in Manama.

The group called the charges unfair, saying no regulations to ban meeting foreigners had ever been implemented before, and no one had been prosecuted for such cases.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

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