Bahrain orders tougher penalties ahead of protests

Bahrain ordered tougher penalties for what it called terrorist acts on Sunday ahead of planned anti-government protests next month.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 28 Jul 2013, 10:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:47 PM

Bahrain’s lawmakers agreed at an extraordinary session on Sunday to proposals including stripping those who commit or call for ‘terrorism crimes’ of their nationality and preventing any protests from taking place in the capital Manama, the state news agency BNA said.

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain ordered authorities to put the recommendations into effect as soon as possible “through the available constitutional and legal channels”, BNA said.

Inspired by the “Tamarrod” (Rebel!) protests in Egypt which led to the military overthrow of President Mohammed Mursi earlier this month, a protest movement in Bahrain has called for demonstrations against the government on August 14.

The Bahraini government has warned against the planned protests, saying anyone participating in them would face the “force of the law”.

Sunday’s recommendations call for a general “toughening of sentences on all violent and terrorist crimes in all shapes and forms”, but do not elaborate.

Lawmakers also proposed giving security forces the authority to “protect people from terrorist acts,” and said political groups that “incite and support acts of violence and terrorism” should face unspecified legal measures.

Khalil Al Marzouq, an official with the largest opposition group Wefaq, told Reuters the lawmakers’ recommendations were “outside the constitutional framework”.

“What parliament issued (shows) that authorities want to have popular cover in order to issue its decrees,” Marzouq told Reuters.

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