Key Shiite Opposition Leader to Return to Bahrain

Saturday, 26 Feb 2011 07:10 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

BEIRUT (AP) — A prominent Bahraini opposition leader was returning home Saturday after months of exile, and urged the rulers of the tiny Gulf nation to be responsive to demands for more political freedoms.

The return of Hassan Mushaima, a senior Shiite figure, could mark a new phase for an anti-government movement in the strategic Gulf nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Mushaima had spent several months in voluntary exile in London, and was heading Saturday from Lebanon to Bahrain. He is head of a Shiite group known as Haq, which is considered more hard-line than the main Shiite political bloc that has so far led two weeks of protests.

Mushaima said he would begin a dialogue with various political factions "so that we may find common ground regarding the demands of the Bahraini people."

Any attempt by authorities in Bahrain to restrict his movements would only inflame tensions there, Mushaima said in a telephone interview from Beirut airport.

He urged the Bahraini government to be responsive to the demands of the protesters. "There are young people who sacrificed and offered up martyrs and are ready to offer up more. We must respect their calls for change," he said.

Mushaima declined to elaborate on his party's demands, saying he will be making a speech to supporters upon arrival in Bahrain.

The Bahraini opposition currently appears divided over whether to demand an end to the Sunni monarchy or offer it a chance to remain in exchange for handing powers to the elected parliament.

Mushaima said the current situation in Bahrain is no longer feasible.

Shiites account for about 70 percent of Bahraini's 525,000 people, but have long complained of systematic discrimination and other abuses by the Sunni dynasty that has ruled for more than two centuries.

Mushaima had been among a group of Shiite activists accused of plotting to overthrow Bahrain's Sunni rulers.

His planned return to Bahrain was stalled when his passport was confiscated in Beirut on an Interpol warrant Tuesday. But Bahraini authorities suspended the trial this week, and Lebanon returned his passport Friday.

A Bahraini government spokeswoman has said that Mushaima will not be arrested if he returns to Bahrain.

Bahrain is the first Gulf state to be thrown into turmoil by the Arab world's wave of change. The unrest is highly significant for Washington because Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which is the Pentagon's main counterweight against Iran's widening military ambitions.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters filled Bahrain's capital Friday to boost pressure for sweeping political concessions.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

House Intel Chairman Rogers: US Trapped in Israel-Hamas 'PR War'

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 12:23 PM

The Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have always had "a little bit of friction," House . . .

Environmental Regulations Leave 800 Miles of Border Unpatrolled

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 11:19 AM

The U.S. Border Patrol is being stymied in its efforts to protect the southern border by federal environmental regulatio . . .

NKorea Threatens Attack on White House

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 11:09 AM

A top-ranking North Korean military official has threatened a nuclear strike on the White House and Pentagon after accus . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved