Bahraini authorities re-arrest senior opposition leader who left prison last month

Bahraini authorities arrested a top opposition leader Sunday, less than a month after he was freed from prison following time served for his role in Arab Spring-inspired protests.

The Interior Ministry said in a brief Twitter statement that Ibrahim Sharif, the former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society, was detained for "violating the law."

The secular, leftist political group, which also goes by the Arabic name Waad, said the arrest took place about 2:30 a.m. at Sharif's home and that authorities began preliminary investigations without his lawyer present.

Sharif was released last month after serving more than four years for his role in 2011 protests calling for reform in the kingdom, a Western ally that hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

While dominated by the country's majority Shiites, who seek greater political rights and have long accused the Sunni monarchy of discrimination, the protests also drew support from other segments of Bahraini society.

Sharif was one of several pro-democracy activists convicted by a military-led tribunal after a government crackdown on the protest movement. Other prominent opposition leaders and human rights activists remain behind bars.

Waad said Sharif now faces charges of incitement of hatred against and contempt of the government, and is being detained for 48 hours pending further investigation. He rejects the allegations, the group said as it called for his immediate release.

"The arrest of Sharif is an attempt to silence his voice and confiscate his freedom of expression," the group said.

The government's Information Affairs Authority did not elaborate on the reasons for the arrest, saying it would provide further details once the investigation is complete.


Follow Adam Schreck on Twitter at