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Bahrain opposition leader fears 'whitewash' of crackdown

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MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla began wrapping up their trip to Bahrain on Friday, as a leader in the island's secular opposition warned their visit could "whitewash" an ongoing crackdown on dissent

Ebrahim Sharif of the Waad Party, who himself has been detained by the island's Sunni rulers, said he hoped the Prince of Wales brought up human rights issues behind closed doors with leaders here.

Bahrain, a small island off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, put down Arab Spring protests in 2011 with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Since then, authorities suspended the country's largest Shiite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, and doubled a prison sentence for its secretary-general, Sheikh Ali Salman. Famed activist Nabeel Rajab was imprisoned and now awaits sentencing on a charge of spreading "false news." Zainab al-Khawaja, the daughter of well-known activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who himself is serving a life sentence over his role in the 2011 protests, was forced into exile.

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