MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain authorities summoned the head of the country's main Shiite opposition bloc on Saturday for questioning on allegations of incitement, a move that could inflame tensions in the tiny Western-allied Gulf kingdom.
The Ministry of Interior said in a statement on its official Twitter feed that Ali Salman of Al Wefaq was summoned to address comments he made in a sermon Friday that allegedly "contained sectarian language to incite hatred." It said his comments also incited hatred against the government and promoted rioting and vandalism.
The public prosecution issued a separate statement saying that Salman was released from custody but is barred from traveling abroad while prosecutors consider the case. The ministry did not say what specific comments prompted the inquest.
Al Wefaq confirmed that Salman was summoned. It criticized what it said was a "series of illegal measures" by authorities.
Al Wefaq has been a major driver in Arab Spring-inspired protests that began in February 2011 in the strategic island nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. More than 65 people have been killed since the unrest began against the Sunni-led monarchy. Some rights groups place the overall death toll higher.