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UK urged to expel 'coup plotters'

An alliance of Arab nations around the Persian Gulf has called on Britain to expel Bahraini Shia opposition figures charged with plotting to overthrow that country's government.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it wants Britain to deal seriously with what it calls terrorist groups and refuse refuge to those threatening their countries.

Hassain Meshaima of the HAQ movement and Saeed Al-Shehabi of the Bahrain Freedom Islamic Movement live in London.

They are among the top leaders of a group of 23 Bahraini activists accused on Saturday of forming a terrorist network and trying to topple the country's Sunni-dominated government.

Another 250 Shia activists were arrested in the crackdown that followed a series of Shia-led protests accusing the government of discrimination that turned violent.

The tension comes a month before elections for parliament, where Shias hold more than 40% of the seats.

The Gulf Cooperation Council is made up of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

On Tuesday, Bahrain's top Shia clerics called on the government to release the activists, saying their detention and the government's refusal to resolve their grievances through dialogue would only feed violence.

"We fear that the insistence on denying dialogue means the situation will continue to be ruled by violence, aggravation, radicalism and emotions, which will ultimately lead to bad and damaging results," the country's six top Shia clerics said in a statement.

Shias are a majority in Bahrain, but the tiny Gulf island is ruled by a Sunni royal family.


From Belfast Telegraph