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MANAMA - Twenty-three Shiite activists arrested for anti-regime activities are to appear




Tensions fuelled by the arrest of the Shiite activists

Shiite activists could face life in imprison amid Bahraini clampdown ahead of elections.

before Bahrain's high court on October 28, the public prosecutor's office announced on Wednesday.

The group will be tried for forming and financing an illegal organisation aimed at preventing the state from carrying out its functions, resorting to terrorism to achieve this and spreading false and tendentious information, said the representative of the public prosecutor Abdurrahman al-Sayyed.

In a statement published by the official news agency BNA, Sayyed said the accused, who are also charged with fomenting sectarian unrest, could face life in imprison under Bahrain's penal code.

The authorities announced the arrest of the 23 activists early last month accusing them of forming a "terror network" aimed at toppling the Sunni-dominated government.

The announcement of their trial date comes as the Shiite-majority Gulf kingdom prepares for legislative and municipal elections on October 23.

Analysts say election campaigning has been low key, amid security fears and sectarian tensions fuelled by the arrest of the Shiite activists.

Amnesty International has warned of an intensifying "clampdown by the authorities on Shiite opposition and human rights activists in the run-up" to Bahrain's parliamentary elections.

At least two of those accused, Hussein Mashaimaa and Said al-Shihabi, respectively of the Shiite opposition movement Haq and the Bahrain Freedom Islamic Movement, will be tried in absentia.

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