The United States must reject two planned arms sales totaling nearly $1bn to Bahrain in light of the Gulf country's "dismal record on human rights", Human Rights Watch [HRW] said Thursday.
The US approved a possible sale to Bahrain of 3,000 bomb bodies worth an estimated $45m last week. In April, the State Department approved a possible sale of attack helicopters worth an estimated $911m.
"These two weapons sales make clear that the Trump administration intends nothing short of a free pass on human rights for Bahrain," said Sarah Margon, HRW's Washington director.
A close US and British ally, Bahrain has cracked down on the opposition mostly composed of Shia Muslim majority, since it crushed pro-democracy demonstrations they led in 2011.
Rights groups accused authorities of seeking to stamp out dissent.
"In the past year, Bahrain has sharpened its crackdown on activists, lawyers, and journalists," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
"It has arbitrarily revoked a record number of citizenships of nationals, carried out unfair trials of civilians in military courts, and harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, and prosecuted rights defenders and their family members."
Last week, a Bahraini court revoked the citizenship of 115 people and gave 53 of them life sentences on alleged "terrorism" charges in one of the most severe rulings yet in the Gulf island kingdom.
Bahrain is also a member of the US-backed Saudi-led military coalition that has been bombing Yemen since 2015.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team