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Bahrain Live Coverage: Regime on Human Rights "You Are Biased. P.S. We'll Sue You"

Protesting the detention of women, youth defy security forces to set up a burning-tyre barricade in Dar Kulaib (see 0719 GMT)

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: After the Houla "Massacre", Another 60 Deaths
Saturday's Bahrain Live Coverage: UN Human Rights Council Sends Message to Regime

2024 GMT: Claimed footage of police shooting tear gas into a house in A'ali today:

Protesters help an old woman suffocating from tear gas:

1914 GMT: Is this the latest step in the regime's crackdown on human rights activists?

The founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, is serving a life sentence. The head of the Centre, Nabeel Rajab, has been imprisoned since 5 May. Now the Centre's Said Yousif Almuhafda is being" target="_blank">targeted by the regime's newspaper Alayam, accused of implementing an Iranian agenda and lying to foreign media.

1014 GMT: Defense lawyer Mohsin al-Alawi says a court has sentenced six people to prison terms of up to 15 years, claiming they were plotting with Iranian agents to overthrow the regime.

Three of the men were sentenced in absentia, including Ali Mushaima, the son of imprisoned opposition leader Hassan Mushaima.

Al-Alawi said two other accused received lesser sentences and were freed because they had spent six months in detention.

0909 GMT: The National reports that the price of prime office space has dropped by a third in the past three years amid financial and political uncertainty.

Property company CBRE estimates that half the space in the kingdom is empty. Occupancy may be as low as 25% in the showpiece Bahrain Financial Harbour, opened in 2007,and billed as a rival to the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Only 78 companies are listed as tenants in BFH's directory, and some of those have shut down. That compares with 848 firms in the DIFC at the end of 2011. The National continues, "A multi-storey retail space beneath the two towers is a ghost town, with a few branches of Caribou Coffee and Costa Coffee sparsely populated. A Starbucks cafe and a Jashanmal bookstore had shut down."

0719 GMT: Protesters are calling for marches and demonstrations of resistance across Bahrain today to demand freedom for women detainees --- Bilad Alqadeem:


0714 GMT: The regime-linked Gulf Daily News cheers:

An initiative to wipe out anti-government graffiti has proven so successful that it has been rolled out in other trouble areas across Bahrain.

It features the beautification of villages by painting religious murals to prevent vandals from spraying anti-monarchy slogans on public and private property.

Organisers are encouraging the country's youth to come out in force to show off their artistic talents and paint cultural images, Islamic phrases and the 99 names of Allah.

0707 GMT: In a Saturday feature, "Preaching Religious Tolerance, Practicing Religious Discrimination", EA's John Horne noted that King Hamad's wife would be the guest of honour at a Paris ceremony organised by the French branch of a Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need. The Bahrain News Agency follows up:

Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, wife of His Majesty the King and President of the Supreme Council for Women affirmed that Bahrain was and still is a place for peaceful coexistence between different religions and cultures and a living example for religious freedom.

She pointed out that Bahrain is known for its historical and civilized position whereby mosques and churches exist near each other and both the sound of Muslim call for prayer and the sound of the ringing of bells of churches can be heard, This, she said, represents the humanitarian and professional approach of dealing among the various religious sects of the society.

0700 GMT: Following up our initial entry (see 0600 GMT) --- sources have told EA that activists returning to Bahrain from the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva have been informed that they will be "summoned for interrogation".

0653 GMT: The Bahrain News Agency reports that the kingdom will stop broadcasting its channels on satellite operator Arabsat from 1 June to protest an Iran-led "hostile" media campaign.

Bahrain's International Affairs Authority criticised Arabsat for failing to heed repeated requests "to take official measures" against the Iranian channels which tried "to incite sectarianism and shake security and stability" in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

0600 GMT: On Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council put out a strong message to the Bahrain regime. In its Periodic Review, the Council put 176 recommendations calling on the Kingdom to address issues of rights and abuse that had not been resolved, despite assurances by the authorities of "reform". The President of the Council added a special message:

Recently I was informed....about a media campaign which is taking place in your country, identifying and threatening representatives of civil society who came to Geneva to participate in this review. Given these press reports I would like to express my concern at those incidents, reminding you that intimidation is inconsistent with the spirit of democratic participation, which inspires this universal periodic review and this mechanism in the council.

Yesterday the regime offered its response through the Minister of Interior, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa:

some human rights organizations adopt a single view of information they get about Bahrain, as they are only convinced of what they hear from one side and give the deaf ears to official responses....Such bias[ed] approach should be avoided by people working in the field as they are expected to have a positive role in supporting the truth with objectivity....The matter raised doubt of how those organizations are selecting their information.

The Minister then addressed the President of the Council:

[He hadn't[ received complaints from concerned individuals about threats they are receiving. He said that statements of those representatives who claimed to be threatened would be taken as part of legal procedures to know the truth.

The Minister expressed his thanks to countries' representatives who showed objection of what was mentioned by the Council President as it considered as violation to agreed-upon protocols and a new practice.

And there was more from the Minister --- the headline of the Arabic version of his statement: "[We Are] Registering Statements of Civil Society Representatives in Geneva to Take Legal Action Against Them".

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