Bahraini security forces have beaten children and threatened them with rape and electric shocks after detaining them in protest-related cases last month, the anniversary of a 2011 pro-democracy uprising, rights groups said on Wednesday.
A government spokesperson did not comment on the specifics of the accusations in response to a detailed Reuters' query. The spokesperson said in a statement Bahrain takes the protection of human rights "extremely seriously" and had a "zero-tolerance policy" towards mistreatment within the justice system.
A joint statement by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said that around 13 children aged 11-17 were detained in early to mid-February as authorities tried to dissuade protesters from gathering to mark the 10th anniversary of the uprising.
"Five children, arrested on Feb. 14-15, said that police from the station beat, insulted, and threatened them with electric shocks from a car battery," the statement said, quoting the children and their families.