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Bahrain to sue UK daily for ‘libel’

Posted by on June 16, 2011 0 Comment

Bahrain is suing British daily The Independent for alleged libel after veteran writer Robert Fisk slammed the kingdom for becoming an extension of Saudi Arabia.

The Information Affairs Authority has appointed a UK-based lawyer to sue the newspaper, the official BNA news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting the acting head of press and foreign media, Nawaf Al Maawda.

“The Independent, through unrealistic stories and provocative op-eds, especially by its writer Robert Fisk, has deliberately targeted Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to falsify the truth,” BNA quoted him as saying.

The daily reported on Bahrain “without observing objectivity,” he charged.

Veteran Middle East correspondent Fisk wrote on Tuesday that tiny Bahrain, ruled by the Al Khalifa dynasty has become a “confederated province of Saudi Arabia, a pocket-size weasel state from which all

journalists should in future use the dateline: Manama, Occupied Bahrain.”

Fisk charged that Saudi-led Gulf troops did not wait for a Bahraini invitation when they rolled into Bahrain on the eve of a crackdown on month-long protests demanding democratic change.

Fisk also slammed a semi-martial court trying dozens of medics from the Shia majority, who are accused of backing demonstrations and of exaggerating the gravity of protesters’ wounds in front of TV cameras.

“These are the very same doctors and nurses I stood beside four months ago in the Salmaniya emergency room, some of them weeping as they tried to deal with gunshot wounds the like of which they had never seen before,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, US said tensions in Bahrain were very high ahead of a planned national dialogue after weeks of pro-democracy protests and urged the authorities to encourage people to speak out.

US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, visiting Manama, said Washington remained concerned about the detention of Bahrainis without charge and reports of torture during interrogations.

He voiced support for the dialogue proposed by King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa but called for transparency during the trials of dozens of people charged with illegal activities during this year’s protests. Agencies

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