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Middle East

‘Bahrain Shia face sectarian cleansing’

shia_faceWith the help of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is carrying out “sectarian cleansing” against the Shia population in the Persian Gulf country, a national human rights activist says.

“Today we are witnessing a sectarian cleansing targeting the Shia. People are being sacked from their work based on sectarian reasons. Athletes are being sacked from the clubs  they play for based on their sectarian background. Students who study abroad are being brought back based on sectarian backgrounds,” said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, in an interview with Press TV.

“We are not talking about a Shia-Sunni dispute. There is a dispute between the Bahraini opposition — majority of them Shia — and the ruling elite, the ruling family, and not the Sunni people,” he added.

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern over what it says are growing abuses by the Bahraini regime against its citizens.

“Most of the people who did documentaries or interviews or spoke to TV channels like Press TV are arrested as of this moment. People are even afraid to talk to journalists or to the media, because it is very frightening,” Rajab pointed out.

“I myself have been beaten and arrested. My house has been attacked for a second time. The CNN interviewers at my house were arrested, and they were released later because they were Americans. The situation is very dangerous,” he noted.

The peaceful popular movement in Bahrain, that demands the ruling Al-Khalifa family to step down, has been violently cracked down on since mid-February.

Maryam al-Khawaja, another Bahraini activist, has said that nearly 800 protesters, including at least 25 women have been so far detained in crisis-hit Bahrain.

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