Bahrain says religious figures, businessmen were funding acts of sabotage and violence in the country

August 21, 2010

Bahrain security authorities said that religious figures and businessmen have funded the cells instigating violence in the country.

“Investigations into the cell targeting national security and the country’s stability have revealed that the suspects and other people in Bahrain and abroad head and fund sabotage cells,” a public security source said. “The funds are used to perpetrate acts of terror and violence in various parts of the country with the aim of spreading chaos, undermining security, sowing divisions, tarnishing the country’s reputation through the dissemination of false and malicious news and putting people’s lives, freedoms and property at risk,” the source told Bahrain News Agency on Saturday evening.

The suspects’ confessions have revealed that they had received funds and donations from religious men and businessmen, under several covers, and that they used them to fund the cells to carry out their heinous acts, the source added. No names were given.

The public security source said that the suspects have been arrested under Law 58 / 2006 on protecting society from acts of terror and will be transferred to the public prosecutor within the legal timeframe.

Bahrain has witnessed a wave of clashes after the authorities arrested members and supporters of Haq Movement, a political group that splintered from Al Wefaq, Bahrain’s largest political and religious society, in November 2005 over attitudes towards parliamentary elections.

However, Bahraini leaders said that they were adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards “illegal groups and calls to undermine Bahrain’s security.”

The justice minister said that all “illegal groups” were given a grace period until the end of Ramadan, expected on September 10, to regularize their situation or face the full wrath of the law.

Several political formations have refused to register under the 2005 Society Law, saying that they did not recognize it. Now, Bahrain said that they have to comply with the laws governing the country and warned that the open tolerance period was over and that no group should encourage, directly or indirectly, acts of violence or sabotage.

In separate statements, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that Bahrain should release the detainees or charge them and on Saturday, Ali Salman, the head of Al Wefaq harshly criticized the arrests, saying that open dialogue was the best option to promote social peace.

However, the public security source rejected the calls to release the detainees.

“We are shocked by the attempts to move ahead of events, either through ignorance or intentionally, and claim the innocence of the suspects before the judges issued their verdict,” the source said. “We warn against attacking the procedures or targeting public security for the sake of public sensationalism and we will not hesitate to hold those who do legally responsible.”

Haq has staunchly opposed the 2006 parliamentary and municipal elections and clashed with Al Wefaq after the society reversed its 2002 boycott stance and fielded 18 candidates. Al Wefaq achieved a landslide victory, carrying 17 constituencies.

Bahrainis will on October 23 and 30 elect 40 lawmakers and 40 municipal councilors.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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