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The authorities accused him of “creating an extremist sectarian environment” and said he had “encourage sectarianism and violence.”“Shia clerics are just the latest target of a general crackdown by the Bahraini authorities against all those who won’t toe the line of the government,” Ahmed Benchesmi, Communications Director for Human Rights Watch in the Middle East and North Africa told The Media Line.

“Before them, human rights activists, bloggers, academics and journalists have been arrested, tortured, some of them even stripped from their citizenship.

Now it seems the latest oppressive tactic consists in playing the sectarian tension card by targeting religious figures from a distinct religious community”.

While the majority of Bahrain’s population is Shi’ite, the King, Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa is Sunni.

Human rights activists say there has been a steady increase in repression since 2011, when the King, backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, cracked down on large street protests as part of the Arab spring.

Last modified 22-Oct-2014 18:33