Bahraini protester found dead after government crackdown

MANAMA Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:57am EDT

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MANAMA (Reuters) - A Bahraini protester has been found dead after he went missing for days following a crackdown by security forces on mainly Shi'ite Muslim demonstrators last week, a member of an opposition group said on Monday.

The protester, Jawwad al-Shamlan, disappeared after he left the Pearl roundabout where anti-government rallies took place earlier this month, said Mattar Ibrahim Mattar, a member of Wefaq, Bahrain's largest Shi'ite group.

Shamlan was later found dead with gunshot wounds to his stomach, Mattar said.

Government forces moved in last Wednesday to end weeks of pro-democracy protests, inspired by a wave of uprisings across the Arab world, that prompted Bahrain's king to declare martial law and call on Sunni-led neighbors to send troops to help the tiny island quell the unrest.

Four Bahraini protesters died in the security sweep, and four policemen were also killed.

Mattar said 95 people were missing since the crackdown, and only 20 of them had been arrested by the security forces. He blamed the authorities for the disappearances.

The government's crackdown has angered Shi'ite in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, and raised tensions across the oil-exporting region.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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