Security Crackdown in Bahrain Hints of End to Reforms –

by Scott Smith

The government said this week that it would no longer tolerate unrest among the Shiite majority, who make up about two-thirds of the population but are barred from many government jobs and face a chronic housing shortage.

Detainees can be held in secret for 15 days under Bahrain’s anti-terrorism statutes, which are applied to people who criticize the government or take part in riots and tire burnings.

Those convicted of compromising national security or slandering the nation can be deprived of health care and other state services, the government said.

“The reform project leaves no excuse or justification, whatsoever, to illegally express opinions that harm the nation,” Deputy Prime Minister Ali bin Khalifa al-Khalifa said.