Babylon & Beyond

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BAHRAIN: Fourth person dies in police custody as human rights groups allege torture

April 13, 2011 |  3:44 pm

Picture 21 A fourth person has died in police custody and his body shows signs of torture, Bahraini human rights groups alleged.

Businessman Karim Fakhrawi, a member of the opposition movement Wefaq, was arrested last week and pronounced dead Tuesday. The party released a statement on its Facebook page claiming Fakhrawi to be the fourth of its supporters to die in custody.

News of his death follows a violent government crackdown against the popular protest movement that rocked the country earlier this year.

Rights activists said Fakhrawi's family was instructed by authorities not to take photos of the body and to restrict the funeral to immediate family members, but videos and photos  have been leaked onto the Internet and to media [the video linked here contains graphic imagery].

Fakhrawi is the fourth activist to die allegedly in government detention. Blogger Zakariya Rashid Hassan Ashiri died in police custody on Saturday under "mysterious circumstaces," according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which called for an immediate investigation despite official claims that Ashiri died from complications associated with sickle cell disease.

Another detainee, Ali Issa Sakr, was killed supposedly when guards tried to restain him for "causing chaos," according to the BBC, while activist Hassan Makki died in custody under suspicious circumstances earlier. 

Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Detail from a video allegedly showing torture by Bahraini forces posted online. Credit: YouTube