Bahrain to prosecute civil servants over protests

AP News
Posted: Apr 17, 2011 8:11 AM
Bahrain to prosecute civil servants over protests

More than a hundred civil servants in Bahrain were summarily fired for participating in anti-government protests, the state news agency said Sunday, in the latest crackdown on the opposition.

The Bahrain News Agency said Sunday that 111 employees of the Education Ministry had been punished for participating in the street marches and strikes last month, demanding greater political freedoms and equal rights for the Shiite majority in the tiny, but strategically important Gulf island nation.

The employees will also be prosecuted for "flagrant violations" of the country's civil service law, the state-run news agency said, adding that last month's Teachers' Union strike was politically motivated and aimed at "crippling schools."

Bahrain imposed martial law March 15 to crush the Shiite-led uprising. Hundreds of protesters, political leaders, human rights activists and Shiite professionals like doctors and lawyers, have been detained.

None of those in custody have been publicly charged with a crime or brought to trial.

At least 30 people have died since Feb. 15, when anti-government protests began in Bahrain. Among the dead are four opposition supporters who died in police custody, including a blogger and one of the founders of the opposition's main newspaper, Kareem Fakhrawi.

Two weeks ago, authorities said three former top editors of Bahrain's most popular opposition newspaper, Al Wasat, will face trial for "unethical" coverage of the unprecedented political unrest and accused three of the paper's top editors of "publishing fabricated news" and "false pictures."

On Thursday, Bahrain's justice minister said the opposition's main Shiite party will be dismantled within a month for "threatening peace."

Al Wefaq has been the leading political backer of the uprising in strategic Gulf country that is the home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.