DUBAI: A senior Bahraini opposition politician was summoned by police today on charges of inciting “acts of terror,” in a move that could complicate efforts to end political turmoil in the strategically vital Gulf Arab kingdom.
A police statement said Khalil Al-Marzouq , of the opposition al-Wefaq party, had gone to a police station in response to a summons and was “facing charges of inciting acts of terror.”
“He was then referred to the Public Prosecution where further legal procedures will take place,” a brief police statement said, without elaborating.
Persistent periods of unrest since February 2011, when an uprising led by the Shi’ite Muslim majority demanded the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty give up power, have planted Bahrain on the front line of a tussle for regional influence between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
There was no immediate reaction from al-Wefaq to news of the charges against Marzouq, a former lawmaker who is an aide to the party’s Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman.
This year, Bahrain passed new laws against what it refers to as acts of terrorism, setting tougher penalties including longer prison terms and the stripping of Bahraini nationality.