RELIGION

UN secretary-general concerned over Bahrain crackdown

FILE- In this Jan. 3, 2015 file photo, a masked Bahraini anti-government protester holds a picture of jailed Shiite cleric Sheik Ali Salman, the head of the opposition al-Wefaq political association, as riot police fire tear gas canisters during clashes in Bilad Al Qadeem, Bahrain. On Tuesday, June, 14, 2016, Bahrain said it has suspended all activities by Al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition political group, and frozen its assets amid a widening crackdown on dissent, five years after the country’s Arab Spring protests. A statement from the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry carried on the state-run Bahrain News Agency said a court made the decision to suspend Al-Wefaq to “safeguard the security of the kingdom.” (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

FILE- In this Jan. 3, 2015 file photo, a masked Bahraini anti-government protester holds a picture of jailed Shiite cleric Sheik Ali Salman, the head of the opposition al-Wefaq political association, as riot police fire tear gas canisters during clashes in Bilad Al Qadeem, Bahrain. On Tuesday, June, 14, 2016, Bahrain said it has suspended all activities by Al-Wefaq, the largest Shiite opposition political group, and frozen its assets amid a widening crackdown on dissent, five years after the country’s Arab Spring protests. A statement from the Justice and Islamic Affairs Ministry carried on the state-run Bahrain News Agency said a court made the decision to suspend Al-Wefaq to “safeguard the security of the kingdom.” (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)  (The Associated Press)

The United Nation's secretary-general has expressed concern over an intensifying crackdown on opposition groups and activists in the tiny island nation of Bahrain.

Ban Ki-moon says in a statement on Thursday that recent decisions by Bahrain's Sunni rulers appear "seemingly aimed at restricting the country's political opposition."

He says the moves could undermine any reforms and lessen the chance of any national conciliation.

In the last week, Bahrain suspended the country's largest Shiite opposition group in a surprise court hearing, detained a prominent activist on charges of spreading "false news" and apparently forced another activist into exile.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. It saw its Shiite majority and others rise up in protests demanding more political freedoms in 2011. Low-level unrest has continued there ever since.