Bahrain accuses Shiites of attempting to overthrow government
Scores of Bahraini opposition figures detained in a massive security crackdown have links to a network seeking to topple the government, Bahrain state-run television BTV said on Saturday.
The report identified 20 opposition figures, all Shiites, as the ringleaders of the alleged plot, which the authorities said targetted the monarchy's security and stability, dpa reported.
Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been arrested since the crackdown began August 13. They all come from the ranks of the Shiite movements Haq and Al Wafa.
The two groups refuse to recognize the 2002 constitution and are calling for a boycott of the October 23 elections in the Gulf Arab island kingdom.
"The National Security Agency succeeded August 13 in dismantling a secret network and foiling its terrorist plans to undermine national security, damage the country's stability, erode national unity, tear social fabric, prolong violence, attack innocent people and destroy public and private property," the television report said.
It said London-based Bahraini Shiites had also linked up with local Shiites to provide funding and incite terror, unrest and vandalism.
Those detained face charges of attempting to overthrow the government, collecting money to finance their illegal network and inciting hatred and contempt of the government, through speeches in public places and articles on websites.
Human rights groups have criticized the Bahraini government after allegations that some of those arrested were tortured into making confessions.
On Wednesday the US based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Bahraini government to investigate the torture allegations.