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Bahrain official denies government involvement in excessive force against protesters

The Interior Minister of Bahrain said that the government was not responsible for the use of excessive force by police officers last year, which resulted in the death of more than 30 protesters, a regional newspaper reported Wednesday. The Minister indicated that the officers acted of their own accord, and stated that they would held accountable in court [Reuters report]. His comments are at odds with a report [text, PDF] released by an independent government commission last year which concluded that the government was responsible for the police conduct [JURIST report]. The commission stated that the security forces acted with an expectation of impunity for their actions.

Bahrain continues to deal with the fallout from the pro-democracy protests last year. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in April that Bahrain's police officers regularly abuse detained protesters [JURIST report] before transporting them to police stations. Also in April, Amnesty International issued its own report [JURIST report] alleging human rights violations continue in Bahrain despite reforms. In March, based on a report of excessive force by Bahraini security forces, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the government [JURIST report] to investigate the allegations. During that same month, HRW released a report about human rights violations against demonstrators, alleging that Bahrain is convicting hundreds of opposition activists [JURIST report] in unfair and politically motivated trials.

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