- - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Eight policemen have been charged with torturing detainees in the wake of last year’s crackdown on Shiite-led protests against the Sunni monarchy, Bahrain’s public prosecution said Monday.

“Five cases have been referred to special courts after charging eight policemen, including a lieutenant,” the prosecution said in a statement carried by the BNA state news agency.

The charges range from “using torture to force a defendant to confess, to causing a permanent disability, as well as insults and physical assaults.”

In September, a policeman was sentenced to seven years for killing a protester during the monthlong protests that were brutally quelled in mid-March 2011.

The authorities say they are implementing the recommendations of an independent commission called for by the king that confirmed allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during the uprising.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, still witnesses sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, mostly outside the capital.

TUNISIA

Gunmen kill guardsman in attack on border patrol

TUNIS — Armed men killed a Tunisian national guardsman near the Algerian border, the state news agency reported Monday.

Four gunmen opened fire on a guard patrol in the area of Dernaya in Tunisia’s Kasserine province, wounding one guardsman who later died at a hospital.

The report said the men had infiltrated the country from Algeria and reinforcements have been sent to the area. The report did not specify the identity of the men, but local media described them as Islamists.

On Saturday, two Tunisians were arrested carrying explosives and automatic weapons near the Algerian border.

JORDAN

King releases 116 jailed during fuel-price protests

AMMAN — King Abdullah II has ordered the release of 116 people arrested during violent protests last month against fuel price increases, the official Petra news agency reported.

It said the king instructed Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur “to take the necessary legal measures to release those arrested during the recent demonstrations in several regions of the country” against the price increases.

At least three people were killed, including two policemen who were shot, and more than 70 injured in violent protests against a government decision on Nov. 13 to raise fuel prices by up to 53 percent, according to police.

Since last year, Jordanians have held Arab Spring-inspired protests to demand reform.

The government says the fuel price increases are essential to address a budget deficit of about $5 billion this year.

IRAN

Police arrest members of ‘counterrevolutionary’ TV

TEHRAN — Authorities have arrested 28 Iranians for alleged links to foreign-based TV networks advocating the Baha’i religion, which is banned in the Islamic republic.

A Tuesday report by semi-official Mehr news agency quotes prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi as saying that intelligence officers arrested the members of “counterrevolutionary networks” in 10 buildings across Tehran.

The detainees were in close contact with TV networks that advocate the Baha’i faith, Mr. Dowlatabadi said.

Baha’i practitioners are frequently prosecuted in Iran.

The Iranian government banned the Baha’i religion in 1979 when Islamic clerics came to power.

From wire dispatches and staff reports