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Bahrain detains citizen for sympathising with Qatar: State media

Violators of new Bahraini law that prohibits sympathising with Qatar face up to five years in jail
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-R) welmcomes King of Bahrain Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa (C-L) upon his arrival in Cairo on 7 April 2016 (AFP)

Bahraini authorities detained a citizen for questioning on charges of sympathising with Qatar on social media, state news agency BNA reported on Wednesday.

It was the first time Bahrain had detained a citizen for violating a ban on sympathy for Qatar after it joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in severing ties with Doha. Violators face up to five years in jail and an unspecified fine.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have imposed similar bans. Abu Dhabi said violations are punishable up to 15 years in jail and a fine of at least $136,000, local media reported.

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BNA quoted the attorney general as saying that the interior ministry's electronic crimes department had filed a complaint about a suspect it did not name, accusing that person of social media posts that violated Bahrain's decisions.

"The prosecution launched an investigation in this complaint, questioned the suspect and ordered him detained protectively pending questioning," BNA said, quoted the prosecutor.

Bahrain suppressed a 2011 uprising led by majority Shia Muslims who demanded reforms and a bigger share in running the small Sunni-led country.

The island nation-state has recently stepped up a campaign against dissent, closing down two major political groupings, revoking the citizenship of a Shia spiritual leader and putting some rights activist on trial. 

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