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Bahrain files suit to suspend main opposition group

[JURIST] Bahrain's Ministry of Justice [official website, in Arabic] on Sunday filed a lawsuit seeking to suspend all activities of the main Shi'ite opposition group for three months. The move comes after leaders of the Al-Wefaq party [GU Berkley Center backgrounder] were charged recently with holding an illegal meeting [JURIST report] with a US diplomat from the State Department [official website]. The lawsuit, however, does not mention the meeting, but rather seeks to suspend the party [AP report] for violating quorum and transparency requirements. Al-Wefaq leader Ali Salman said his party plans to challenge the move [Reuters report].

Political tensions remain high Bahrain following protests that began in 2011. In April a Bahrain court sentenced [JURIST report] eight activists to life in prison for killing a policeman and participating in anti-regime protests last August. In March a Bahrain court sentenced [JURIST report] 13 citizens to life in prison and one man to 10 years in prison for attempting to kill a police officer and participating in an illegal protest. Also in March Bahrain's Fourth High Criminal Court convicted 11 defendants [JURIST report] of possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives and of manufacturing bombs for terror purposes, which resulted in 15-year prison sentences for the accused and significant fines. In late 2013 a judge in Bahrain rejected [JURIST report] a request from human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to approve his conditional early release, for which Rajab was eligible under Bahraini law. Psaki commented that the US continues to urge Bahrain to permit all sectors of society to peacefully voice their political views.

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