Latest Bahrain arrest sparks new UN human rights warning

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Photo: UN/Staton Winter

The arrest of the leader of Bahrain's main opposition movement has prompted fresh concern about the country's human rights policies.

According to the UN human rights office, Bahraini authorities are believed to have arrested Sheikh Ali Salman on Sunday.

He'd been called in for police questioning just two days after being re-elected to head the Al Wefaq movement, the Geneva-based rights watchdog believes.

Sheikh Salman's lawyers say he's accused of calling for the overthrow of the government, among other charges.

A written statement from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urges the government of Bahrain to guarantee a fair trial for Sheikh Salman.

It goes on to say that opposition parties "are fundamental pillars of any democracy" and Sheikh Salman's arrest could intensify "the fraught political scene" that's been marked by nearly four years of anti-government protest.

The development follows a call by UN human rights experts to release three other female campaigners who have reportedly been detained for criticising Bahraini authorities.

Two of the activists are daughters of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja – former president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, who has been in detention since 2011.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’12″

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