Bahrain's government has suspended the publication of the independent newspaper Al-Wasat.

The official Bahrain News Agency said in a brief statement issued Thursday night that the suspension is "due to its violation of the law and repeated dissemination of information that affects national unity and the Kingdom's relationship with other countries."

Brian Dooley of the Washington-based group Human Rights First called the paper's suspended publication, "another seriously alarming, if predictable, move from the Bahraini government in silencing all opposition voices and crushing dissent."

Al-Wasat is a widely respected newspaper in the Mideast region edited by Mansoor Al-Jamri, 53, who received a CPJ International Press Freedom Award in 2011.

The paper was forced to shut down temporarily in 2011, in the aftermath of widespread unrest and pro-democracy protests. In April 2011, the paper's co-founder, Karim Fakhrawy, was tortured to death in custody.