|code: 319755||Date: 2012/06/03 - 23:55||source: Worldbulletin|
Bahrain plans to close Islamist opposition party
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Bahrain said on Sunday it would take legal measures to close down a Shi'ite Islamist opposition party that has played a prominent role in protests against its discriminate monarchy.
The justice ministry said it would ask the courts to ban the Islamic Action party, Amal, for so called "major violations" of Bahrain's constitution and laws, the state BNA news agency reported. It gave no details.
Amal spokesman Hisham Sabbagh said he believed the ministry was trying to put pressure on the party to accept a national dialogue with the government aimed at ending the political crisis which grew out of protests that erupted 16 months ago.
He said the violations referred to party meetings in unlicensed premises in 2006 and 2008.
Bahrain's biggest Shi'ite opposition party, Wefaq, and other legal opposition groups have accepted the dialogue in principle, after saying a previous round was skewed towards pro-government factions and did not take their demands seriously.
Protesters led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority took to the streets in February last year demanding an elected government, reduced powers for the ruling al Khalifa family, and an end to sectarian discrimination they say they face.
Bahrain called in troops from fellow Sunni-led monarchies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to crush the protests, and sentenced some of the organisers to life terms for trying to overthrow the state.