8:42am

Thu April 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Bahrain's Government Moves To Silence Opposition

The Bahrain News Agency says Bahrain's Ministry of Justice is taking the main opposition group to court over its 'grave breaches' of the Persian Gulf kingdom's constitution. With that, the Sunni-led Bahraini government is widening the religious divide between it and the main opposition Shiite political group in the country.

Bahrain's government, with the help of Saudi Arabia, violently crushed mass democracy protests earlier this year, throwing hundreds of Shiite protesters into custody and upending daily life. Human rights groups allege Bahraini security forces assault and kill detainees. The Los Angeles Times reports at least four people have died recently in Bahrain custody.

The family of businessman Karim Fakhrawi was ordered not to photograph him but images were taken; his body shows signs of torture. On Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists says a Bahraini blogger died in police hands under 'mysterious circumstances.

Time has a heartbreaking story on how the Bahrain government has successfully introduced religious and ethnic hatred to maintain power.

The government's new, highly effective strategy of divide and rule has sought to split the country along sectarian lines, making it harder for protesters to organize a credible national opposition movement.

"The most successful revolutions in the region have been in Egypt and Tunisia, and that's because protesters have been able to unite people from different backgrounds," says Jane Kinninmont, senior research fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Chatham House. "Division in conflict is a powerful tool."

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