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Cablegate: Outreach to Democracy Activists

VZCZCXRO0607
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0302 1321100
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111100Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7851
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS MANAMA 000302

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/SEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL BA
SUBJECT: OUTREACH TO DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS

REF: A. 07 STATE 88465
B. 07 MANAMA 713
C. 07 STATE 108924
D. MANAMA 49
E. STATE 44903

1. (U) Embassy Manama maintains regular contact with democracy and human rights activists and NGOs in Bahrain, and encourages leaders in government and in opposition to persist in the revival of parliamentary politics and other reforms that King Hamad launched in 2002. To the best of our knowledge, there are no active third country dissidents exiled to or receiving asylum in Bahrain.

2. (SBU) Since our last report on democratization outreach (ref B), Emboffs maintained frequent contact with individual oppositionists and activists. Group meetings included a February, 2008 roundtable discussion for civil society activists, hosted by Ambassador; DCM hosted a roundtable meeting with leaders of opposition parties. Embassy highlighted publicly the liberalizing reforms associated with the FTA; for example, on April 8, Bahrain TV aired an interview with Ambassador on the topic. Embassy Manama regularly meets with members of parliament and activists from all legal parties, except for several Sunni Islamist politicians who decline meetings with USG officials as a matter of policy. XXXXXXXXXXXX Since last year's response, Bahrain has experienced recurrent small street clashes between Shi'a youth and security forces. Some of those arrested and charged in connection with riots in December 2007 have alleged mistreatment at the hands of the police. XXXXXXXXXXXX ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** HENZEL

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