MANAMA, (Reuters) – Bahrain”s Interior Minister has denied claims that security forces sexually abused an activist, reports that had sparked three days of clashes between police and angry rioters, state media said on Saturday.
But the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) quoted the Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa as saying that an investigation had been launched into the charges and urged Bahrainis to be patient and exercise self-restraint.
"The violation was not carried out by security forces or any security agency. It is not in the interest of security to do this, nor is it a method which the Interior Ministry uses," BNA quoted Sheikh Rashed as saying.
BNA said on Friday that police had arrested 15 youths after days of clashes over the alleged abuse of a 24-year-old man who claims he was beaten and sexually abused by masked men while in custody.
The man, part of a group called "The Unemployed Committee", said in a statement that his attackers warned him to stop organising protests, which had been peaceful, earlier in the week over unemployment in the Gulf Arab state.
Bahrain, the least wealthy of the Gulf Arab oil producers, has a history of political tension and high unemployment which has sparked many protests in the past.
The Labour Ministry announced earlier this year a 30-million-dinar($80 million) training programme to help find jobs for Bahrainis.
Independent economists put unemployment at around 15 percent.