Bahrain court upholds dissolution of main Shiite opposition group


A Bahraini appeals court on Thursday upheld an order dissolving the country's main Shiite opposition group despite international criticism of the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom's intensified crackdown on dissent.

A lower court had ordered the dissolution of the Al-Wefaq association in July over accusations including "harbouring terrorism" and ordered its funds to be seized by the government.

The accusations also included inciting violence and encouraging demonstrations which threatened to spark sectarian strife in the Shiite-majority country.

Al-Wefaq was the largest group in parliament before its lawmakers resigned en masse in protest at the crushing of Arab Spring-inspired demonstrations in 2011 calling for an elected government.

The court order drew criticism from UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, and the kingdom's allies in Washington and London.

Shiite-dominated Iran, which is repeatedly accused by Gulf foes of meddling in Bahrain's affairs, also condemned the order.

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