No weapons for Bahrain in crackdown, say US lawmakers

US lawmakers are seeking to block $53 million in weapons sales to Bahrain in a bid to dissuade the regime from cracking down on protesters.

A bill sponsored by Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and James McGovern was presented Thursday in Congress calling for "good faith dialogue" for democratic reforms.

It would bar arms sales to the kingdom until the government addresses "alleged human rights violations" since February, when pro-democracy protests inspired by the Arab Spring began.

Bahraini security forces quelled the month-long protest in mid-March, driving demonstrators out of Manama's Pearl Square, the focal point of the protests.

Authorities say 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in the unrest.

The US lawmakers also demanded legal transparency, the protection of Shiite mosques and sites, an end to "torture and other inhumane treatment," as well as the release of peaceful demonstrators against the regime, and charges against them dropped.

"Selling weapons to a regime that is violently suppressing peaceful civil dissent and violating human rights is antithetical to our foreign policy goals and the principle of basic rights for all that the US has worked hard to promote," Wyden said in a statement.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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