Bahrain must investigate more than a dozen deaths that followed the use of tear gas by security forces, rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday after the Gulf kingdom reported that a man had died while in custody.
Reuters reported that Bahrain's Interior Ministry said that a man detained by police over "acts of sabotage" died in the hospital, without elaborating on the cause of death.
According to Amnesty, a Bahraini human rights group has reported at least 13 deaths resulting from the security forces' use of tear gas against peaceful protesters as well as inside people's homes since February 2011, with a rise in such deaths in recent months.
A 20-year-old was seriously injured and hospitalized after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister launched by riot police, the group said. Amnesty went on to document a series of incidents that allegedly showed how tear gas had been used improperly, including against women, children and the elderly.
Bahrain last year crushed protests led by its Shiite Muslim majority demanding an end to sectarian discrimination and limits to the authority of the Sunni ruling family, relying in part on backing from troops from fellow Sunni-led Gulf monarchies.
More than a thousand people were detained in the crackdown, at least four of whom died in official custody. An inquiry Bahrain commissioned into the protests and government crackdown found systematic abuse of detainees, including torture.
The ministry said last month it would begin recording the questioning of detainees in line with the recommendations of the inquiry, which also disputed Bahrain's claim that the protests were fomented by Iran through its Shiite coreligionists.
Washington, which bases its Fifth Fleet on the Gulf island, has linked a $53 million arms sale to the kingdom's response to the inquiry. Bahrain has said it is implementing the inquiry's recommendations, but the top U.N. human rights official argues that Bahrain is not punishing those behind abuses.
Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.
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