Bahrain court suspends main opposition group: lawyer

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2016 7:52 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini court on Tuesday ordered the suspension of the country's main opposition al-Wefaq Islamic group and set a hearing in October to look into dissolving it, a lawyer for al-Wefaq said on his Twitter account.

The move against the Shi'ite Muslim group could further deepen a political impasse in the Sunni-ruled country, which was rocked by mass protests by majority Shi'ite Muslims in 2011 demanding a bigger role in government.

"Two hours after a petition to stop the activities of al-Wefaq and to close its office, the administrative court swiftly approved the (justice) minister's request," lawyer Abdallah al-Shamlawi wrote on his Twitter account.

He said that the court ordered al-Wefaq's activities suspended and its offices closed, and set October 6 as the date for a hearing into the request for its dissolution.

The Justice Ministry said it had filed the request to dissolve al-Wefaq, which it said "works within a political, religious and foreign framework", according to state news agency BNA. There was no immediate comment from al-Wefaq on the report.

Al-Wefaq won 18 out of 40 parliamentary seats in a 2010 election, but pulled out of parliament a year later during a crackdown against mostly Shi'ite protesters demanding greater democracy.

Bahrain, a Western-allied Gulf Arab kingdom, hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Dominic Evans)