Bahrain arrests opposition leadership over U.S. diplomat meeting
Bahrain's main opposition leader was arrested for meeting with Washington's top diplomat to the country who was expelled earlier this week, according to Agence France Presse.
Manama's chief prosecutor charged Ali Salman, the head of the opposition Al Wefaq association and his political assistant, ex-MP Khalil Marzooq with violating a law related to foreign contacts after the two met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski.
"The public prosecution has charged them with contacting a representative of a foreign government in violation of the law on political associations," the prosecution said, according to the AFP report.
According to Bahraini law, contacts "[between political associations and foreign parties] should be coordinated with the foreign ministry and in the presence [of its representative]."
Neither Salman or Marzooq has yet been taken into custody, but Malinowski was described by the foreign ministry as interfering with Bahrain's internal affiars.
Bahraini authorities further told Malinowski Monday that he was no longer welcome in the country and should "leave immediately."
Bahrain made sure to add that the Washington-Manama relationship would not be affected by Malinowski's "unfortunate acts."
Manama is considered a strategic ally of Washington in the region, despite its dismal human rights record and treatment of its Shiite majority opposition.
Malinowski is the former director of Human Rights Watch.