Iran has expressed concern over tightened security measures in the face of the “legitimate civil demands” of the Bahraini people, saying the adoption of punitive action in the tiny Persian Gulf state is of no avail.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that methods used by the Bahraini government will only intensify the crisis in the country and will provide an opportunity for enemies of the Muslim Ummah [to achieve their objectives],” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said on Friday.
He expressed hope that the Bahraini government would stop clinging to an “inefficient security approach” which has led to the complication of the situation in the country over the past four years.
He also advised the Arab country to resume serious dialog with recognized leaders of popular movements to find a peaceful and political solution to the country’s crisis.
In the latest instance of intensifying crackdown on dissent and members of civil society, a court in Bahrain on Thursday handed down a death sentence to one activist and life imprisonments to 22 others.
Bahrain’s Higher Criminal Court convicted the 23 Shias in connection with the death of a policeman last year. They were found guilty of terrorism-related charges, including setting off the explosives that killed the policeman.
The harsh verdicts are the latest in a string of court rulings in Bahrain involving people who have played a role in four years of popular protests and demonstrations in the kingdom.
Since March 2011, Bahrainis have taken to the streets to demand a change in the political system.
The regime in Manama has responded with a massive crackdown by killing dozens and arresting hundreds of people, including notable opposition leaders. The demonstrations have gradually turned into platforms for outright calls for the ouster of the Al Khalifa regime.
Amnesty International and other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime over the “rampant” human rights abuses against protesters.
Several people were injured on Friday as Bahraini people took to the streets of the northwestern city of Sitra under strict security measures. Among those present in the rally were activists and family members of those killed in the crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime.
Regime forces responded by firing tear gas and birdshot at the defiant protesters, including children and women.
Fierce clashes also reportedly erupted between the Al Khalifa forces, backed by the armored vehicles, and protesters.
Sources also said the Al khalifa forces vandalized the property of some of the citizens in Sitra.