Last updated: 26 January, 2012

Detained Bahrain protester has died in hospital

A Bahraini protester detained after clashes with police in a Shiite village has died in hospital, police said on Thursday, as the opposition accused security forces of running him over.

An interior ministry statement posted on Twitter said police arrested the man in the Gulf kingdom’s central province on Tuesday “over acts of vandalism in the area of Sitra”.

“He died in hospital and the public prosecution has been notified,” it said.

Leading opposition figure Matar Matar told AFP that Mohammed Yaaqub, 18, was chased by police vehicles and that his body “was stuck between two (police) cars that were following him”.

“Instead of receiving the necessary medical treatment, the police took him to the yard opposite Sitra police station where he was tortured,” said Matar, a former MP.

The interior ministry said 41 officers were injured in “orchestrated attacks on police” on Tuesday, as tensions rise almost a year after the eruption of Shiite-led democracy protests that were crushed last March.

The opposition said several protesters were wounded in the clashes, including one seriously after being hit on the head with a tear gas canister.

In a statement released Thursday, the London-based advocacy group Amnesty International warned that the use of tear-gas against protesters had become “increasingly deadly”.

It called on the Bahraini government to investigate “the more than a dozen” tear-gas related deaths since February 2011.

“The rise in fatalities and eyewitness accounts suggest that tear gas is being used inappropriately by Bahraini security forces, including in people’s homes and other confined spaces,” said Amnesty.

According to Amnesty, on December 31, 15-year-old Sayyed Hashem Saeed died after being hit by a canister “at close range.”

On January 20, 14-year-old Yaseen al- Asfur, an asthma sufferer, died in hospital three weeks after security forces “fired three tear gas canisters against his house.”

Last year’s crackdown led to the deaths of 35 people, including five security personnel and five detainees who were tortured to death, a commission appointed by King Hamad found.

Bahrain’s Shiite majority complains of marginalisation in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.