US says diplomat faced threats in Bahrain



WASHINGTON- The State Department said Tuesday that a US diplomat in Bahrain faced threats over his work in the Gulf Arab kingdom, a US ally, but denied reports he was brought home for his safety.
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the diplomat, Ludovic Hood, returned to Washington as part of his normal work duties and not because of the threats against him.



McClatchy Newspapers reported that Hood, the US human rights officer at the US embassy in Manama, was recalled after he experienced "ethnic slurs and thinly veiled threats" on a pro-government website and in official newspapers.
"We are aware, as press reports have cited, that there were threats, accusations made against him on some websites," Toner told reporters, adding that Washington takes all threats against its personnel seriously.
"While there were, obviously, concerns about his security," he in fact returned to Washington because "he did just complete his tour in Manama," Toner said. "So he wasn't recalled."
Toner denounced the threats and allegations against Hood but added the US government did not know for sure who was behind them.
"We have no way to confirm that they were actually made by the government or people within the government of Bahrain. I'm aware that they were on these websites," Toner said.
"But it's unacceptable that any elements there would target an individual, a diplomat for carrying out his duties," he added.
US-Bahraini tensions have been high since Washington has criticized its Gulf ally over its harsh crackdown on anti-government protests led by the mainly Shiite Muslim opposition.
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Wednesday, June 1st 2011
AFP
           


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