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Opposition leader says he is being prevented from returning to Bahrain

By Mustafa Al-Arab, CNN
Protesters carry symbolic coffins Thursday in remembrance of 7 people who were killed in police crackdowns in Bahrain.
Protesters carry symbolic coffins Thursday in remembrance of 7 people who were killed in police crackdowns in Bahrain.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mushaimaa says Lebanese authorities seized his passport
  • "This regime is using lies and deception," he says
  • The government says Mushaimaa can return anytime
  • A case against him in Bahrai has been closed
RELATED TOPICS
  • Bahrain

(CNN) -- The leader of Bahrain's largest opposition party said Friday he didn't know when he can go back home and blamed the kingdom for blocking his return.

Hassan Mushaimaa, leader of the Haq Movement, said he was unable to return home Tuesday because he was detained in Lebanon.

"I am still in Beirut," Mushaimaa said Friday. "I was detained for hours on Tuesday. Then I was released. I am now outside of the airport and it would be better if I do not disclose my whereabouts."

Mushaimaa said Lebanese authorities seized his passport, saying there was a warrant for him from Interpol, the international police organization.

"My lawyer confirmed that no such warrant have been issued," Mushaimaa said. "If I was wanted by the Interpol, I would have not been allowed to leave London."

Mushaimaa said he was not sure when he can go back to Bahrain.

"What is happening to me would show clearly how this regime (in Bahrain) is using lies and deceptions," he said. "How can there be a call for national dialogue while I am banned from returning to Bahrain?"

Maysoon Sabkar, a Bahraini government spokeswoman, told reporters Thursday that Mushaimaa is not wanted anymore and is allowed to return to the country.

Earlier this week, Bahrain's King Haman ordered the release of a number of prisoners and closed cases against several Shiite leaders accused of plotting against the kingdom.

That cleared the way for Mushaimaa to return to the country from London, and aides had expected him to arrive in Bahrain.

Mushaimaa's Haq Movement is more hard-line than the opposition Wefaq party, which includes 18 people in the 40-member parliament.

Many members of his movement are opposed to the government monarchy, but Mushaimaa said he will support the protesters whether they want a "new system in a constitutional kingdom" or want "to change the regime."

Mushaimaa, who had been living in exile, had previously been detained by the government for campaigning for more democratic rights in the island monarchy.

Bahrain last year asked Interpol for help in arresting Mushaimaa, whom the government accused of a terrorist plot to destroy state buildings and of planning a coup.

But the king's decision closed the books on the case against Mushaimaa, giving him the freedom to return without fear of arrest.

As in several other Middle Eastern countries, Bahran too has seen anti-government rallies -- a massive display of popular scorn toward an embattled government working to forge stability. But it unfolded amid major gestures by the kingdom.

King Hamad touted a "national dialogue" and urged Bahrainis "to engage in this new process" and "move away from polarization," a government statement said Tuesday.

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