BAHRAIN: Sunni detainee still held under mysterious circumstances

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Emergency law was lifted Wednesday in Bahrain but Mohamed Albuflasa remains in jail. Albuflasa Imprisoned the first week of Bahrain’s demonstrations when the protest movement believed it might extract reforms from the island’s monarchy.

What makes him different from the other imprisoned demonstrators is his unique status as a conservative religious Sunni Muslim. Most of those detained as a result of the recent demonstrations are Shiites along with some secular Sunni politicians. Albuflasa is a follower of the fundamentalist Salafist school in Islam.


The 34-year-old shared a belief with the protesters that the country needed greater democracy and reform, so he stood among the country’s Shiite majority on the first days of the protests at the Pearl Square roundabout.

But as he soon as he spoke of solidarity with the protesters, a security agency detained him.

Now nearly four months later, he remains in detention. He had been brought before a military court with no access to a lawyer or witnesses in late February. At the time, his family believed Albuflasa was sentenced to two months in jail, but long afterwards he continues to be held. Albuflasa called his wife a few days ago and told her he would no longer be allowed to make phone calls from jail and was starting a hunger strike in response, his brother Rashed told The Times.

Albuflasa’s family believes he is being punished because the government wants to reprimand Sunnis who had supported the pro-democracy demonstrations in Manama that were led by the island’s Shiite majority. “When Mohamed came to the roundabout, it was like a surprise and a big attack for the government. They thought, ‘How could one of our guys go to the roundabout?’ Now they are making him pay the consequences,” his brother Rashed said.


Timeline: Repression in Bahrain

After crushed protests, Bahrain is accused of increased oppression of Shiites

-- Ned Parker in Baghdad