Several human rights groups on Wednesday accused Bahraini security officials of beating and illegally detaining children as young as 11 years old during last month’s protests commemorating the Arab Spring’s 10-year anniversary. According to a report by Human Rights Watch and the exiled Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, at least 13 children aged 11 to 17 were arrested and thrashed by policemen, and later threatened with torture such as electric shocks to the genitalia and rape. The children were apprehended for allegedly burning tires and creating roadblocks, part of February’s failed attempts to reignite the uprising quashed by Manama a decade ago. A government representative denied the charges. In 2011, Bahrain became the only Gulf nation to import mass pro-democracy demonstrations from the rest of the Arab world. With the help of neighboring Sunni Muslim states, the monarchy forcefully suppressed the protests of the Shi’ite Muslim majority. The crackdown included thousands of arrests and alleged widespread torture of prisoners.
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