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Bahrain authorities arrest 2 former Guantanamo detainees

Bahraini authorities on Saturday arrested and charged [press release] two former Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees for plotting an attack in Bahrain. Reports indicate authorities caught the former detainees as they attempted to cross into Bahrain from Saudi Arabia on the King Fahad Causeway using forged passports. Bahrain's Interior Ministry [official website] has yet to identify the arrestees but noted that both were found to be carrying large amounts of money. The ministry also noted that the arrest comes just days before Bahrain hosts the thirty-second meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) [official website, in Arabic] interior ministers, an organization of six Gulf states seeking to effect "coordination, integration and inter-connection" between member states "in all fields." There is, however, no express indication that the former detainees plotted to attack the GCC meeting.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain continues to battle public protest and violence from clashes with the Shiite minority. Anti-government protests in early 2011 spurred numerous legal proceedings in Bahrain. In July a Bahrain criminal court acquitted [JURIST report] two police officers on trial for the torture of six Shiite doctors during the uprising against the Sunni regime in 2011. In May a Bahrain court sentenced [JURIST report] 31 people to 15 years for their participation in firebomb attacks as part of anti-government protests. In March a Bahrain court reversed the convictions [JURIST report] for 21 medics who were arrested at a hospital during the 2011 protests. The group of medics were originally charged with taking part in unauthorized demonstrations after treating protesters who were injured by police and have alleged that they were tortured and coerced into making confessions following their arrest. At least 28 medics were charged, but most of the sentences have been overturned. However, in October of last year, the Bahrain Court of Cassation upheld jail sentences [JURIST report] issued to nine medics for allegedly participating in anti-government protests.

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