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Middle East

Iran not behind Bahrain protests, official inquiry finds

media Mourners in Sirta hold up a picture of the king. Reuters/Stringer

No link between Iran and protests in Sunni-ruled Bahrain was found by an official inquiry into Shia-led protests. The country’s king says he is “dismayed” by proof of 35 deaths and torture of prisoners.

Despite accusations by Sunni Gulf leaders that Tehran was stirring up protest in the Shia-majority state, the Independent Commission of Inquiry said “no clear link” was shown between the events and Iran.

About 1,000 Gulf troops, largely from Iran’s greatest rival in the region, Saudi Arabia, were sent to back up Bahraini security forces in March.

The inquiry found that they had not been involved in human rights violations.

But it did find that Bahraini forces has used “excessive force”, leading to 35 deaths, of which five were security personnel, hundreds of injuries and torture of detainees.

The government accepted the findings of the inquiry’s reports, which it commissioned, and King Hamad al-Khalifa declared himself to find out about mistreatment of prisoners.

"We do not tolerate the mistreatment of detainees and prisoners. We are dismayed to find that it has occurred, as your report has found," he said.

There were clashes in two Shia areas before the report’s publication.

Police used teargas against protesters in Aali village early in the morning and clashed with mourners on Sitra island during a protest at the death of a 19-year-old hit by a police car on 19 November.

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