Bahrain’s largest Shiite political group, Al-Wefaq, blamed militiamen loyal to the regime for the weekend death of a 22-year-old anti-government protester.
Ahmed Ismael Abdulsamad was shot in the right thigh before dawn yesterday as he filmed a protest in the Shiite village of Salmabad that plainclothes security forces tried to break up with tear gas and rubber bullets, Al-Wefaq said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. It said one of several “militiamen” accompanying security forces fired live bullets at the protesters from a civilian car, hitting Abdulsamad.
Authorities are investigating Abdulsamad’s death, Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq al-Hassan said yesterday, according to an e-mailed statement from the Information Affairs Authority. He said preliminary details revealed that Abdulsamad was shot by a person driving a civilian car.
Abdulsamad’s death adds to tensions that have simmered in the island nation since the Sunni monarchy cracked down on one month of mass protests last year by mostly Shiite demonstrators demanding democracy and equal rights. At least 35 people were killed between Feb. 14 and April 15 last year, according to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which investigated the unrest. The opposition says more than 30 other people died from tear gas inhalation and torture. Small-scale protests still taking place daily in Shiite villages and sometimes spill over into the capital of Manama.
The Interior Ministry said on Twitter late yesterday that activist Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been arrested for participation in an unauthorized rally and referred to the public prosecutor.
To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu Nasr in Manama at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Louis Meixler at email@example.com