BEIRUT

Middle East

UN torture investigator says Bahrain blocks visit

A Bahraini boy holds a poster of a victim of protest violence during an anti-regime rally in support of political activists held in prison in the village of Jidhafs, west of Manama on April 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

GENEVA: The U.N.'s special investigator against torture says Bahrain is again blocking him from a planned visit to the country.

Juan Mendez, who reports to the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council, says the government's decision to postpone his visit planned for May 8-15 "is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed nor is there a future road map to discuss."

Mendez said in a statement "this postponement could be perceived as if there is something to hide."

He said that Bahrain's decision comes after a spike in anti-government protests and reports of torture of those held in prisons.

But he said Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, told him this week his visit could damage chances of dialogue among Shiites and Bahrain's Sunni rulers.

 

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