Bahrain denies teen shot dead by police
Dubai - Bahrain's interior ministry on Friday denied reports that police shot dead a Shi'ite teenager taking part in a protest two days ago and offered a $26 500 reward for information about his killers.
"The ministry expresses regret over various statements issued by certain political and human rights organisations" claiming that Ali Jawad Ahmed al-Sheikh's death "resulted from a police tear gas projectile shot at his face".
"Ali died as a result of a serious blow to the back of the neck [blunt trauma] that culminated in a blood clot around his brain, which took his life," said the ministry statement.
"Although this is the subject of confirmation... the contusion on Ali's neck is not consistent with being hit with a tear gas canister or rubber bullet," it said, adding it has declared a reward of $26 500 for information about his killers.
Opposition group Al-Wefaq had said that Sheikh was fatally wounded on Wednesday when he was struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by security forces.
Picture of dead teen
The 14-year-old was killed in the Shi'ite village of Sitra during a small protest after Eid al-Fitr prayers, the Gulf kingdom's main Shi'ite opposition group said on its Facebook page.
It posted a picture of the dead teenager with his face covered in blood, saying the tear gas canister was fired from close range.
But the interior ministry said that "at the time of Ali's death [Wednesday morning] there were no reported incidents involving the police in the Sitra area".
"The interior ministry is lying," Bahrain Centre for Human Rights chief Nabeel Rajab said. "They killed him regardless of the weapon used."
Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across Bahrain late on Thursday, Rajab said.
The activist said protesters tried to march towards Manama's central Pearl Square where they camped out since mid-February until security forces, boosted by a Saudi-led Gulf regiment, drove them out one month later in a deadly crackdown.
"But police blocked the roads and the protesters were met by tear gas and rubber bullets," said Rajab. "There were injuries but we can't obtain a toll since people treat their injured in homes and don't take them to hospitals" from fear of arrests, he said.
Sporadic protests have taken places in Shi'ite villages since security forces cracked down in mid-March on a month-long pro-democracy protest led by the Shi'ite majority of the kingdom ruled by a Sunni dynasty.
Authorities say 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in the month of unrest. Four others died in custody.