Last updated: 11 March, 2014

Bahrain arrests US citizen for attack on police

Bahraini authorities arrested a US national and another individual accused of “attacking” police in a Shiite village, as a bomb blast Tuesday wounded two policemen in another town.

Shiite villages around the capital have seen frequent protests against Bahrain’s ruling Sunni dynasty since the crushing of a 2011 uprising backed by the Shiite majority, with the demonstrations often igniting clashes with security forces.

The two Bahraini suspects, one of whom holds a US passport, were arrested Monday after they allegedly “demonstrated and attacked a police patrol using Molotov cocktails and iron bars” in the Shiite village of Maameer, the public prosecutor said in a statement.

One of them had “a petrol bomb and a bullet-proof vest in his possession,” it added.

They were charged with “taking part in an unauthorised protest, rioting, and possessing petrol bombs,” said the statement.

The lawyer of the suspect carrying a US passport has demanded his release, the statement said, however both “were jailed on remand.”

The interior ministry meanwhile announced on Twitter that two on-duty policemen were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded in a “terrorist act” in East Ekar, without providing further details.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided three years after the quashed uprising, with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on “terror” charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.

The bloodiest attack since authorities put down the 2011 uprising took place last week when a bomb blast in the village of Daih killed three policemen.

Last year authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences for certain cases.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the uprising began in February 2011.