Bahraini teenager killed in clash with police
DUBAI (Reuters) - A 16-year-old protester was killed after what opposition activists in Bahrain said was a "brutal attack" by security forces, but which the Bahrain government described as a defensive response to a petrol bomb attack on police.
The opposition says more than 45 people have been killed in protests since June 2011, when the government lifted martial law it had imposed to help quash pro-democracy demonstrations by its Shi'ite Muslim majority inspired by revolts against repressive dynasties across the Arab world.
However, the Interior Ministry says protesters have injured more than 700 police officers in clashes and that the police, who do not use live fire, have been exercising restraint.
The protester's death - after a demonstration on Friday night - came as the United States, an ally of Manama, expressed concern over Bahrain's jailing of a prominent opposition activist, Nabeel Rajab, for three years.
The government identified the dead youth as 16-year-old Hussam al-Haddad, and said he had been among protesters throwing petrol bombs at police and had died after being taken to hospital.
The opposition Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said witnesses had seen the security forces fire birdshot at Haddad before men in plainclothes kicked him repeatedly as he lay on the ground while police stood by.
The main opposition Wefaq movement said in a statement in Arabic that Haddad had been "martyred after being brutally attacked" and activists posted what they said were pictures of his body, apparently severely bruised and marked by dozens of birdshot wounds.
Reuters was unable to verify the pictures independently.
The government said police were acting in self defence. Continued...