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Second Bahrain detainee dies in custody: ministry

RIYADH -- A 23-year-old Bahraini man who was detained in December and accused of smuggling weapons died from an illness in custody on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said, the second death of a person held on security-related charges this year.

Jaffar Mohammed Jaffar was arrested in a raid that the government said broke up a plot to bring in detonators and explosives by boat and use them to launch attacks in the island kingdom.

Jaffar was suffering from sickle cell anemia and was admitted to hospital on Feb. 19, the ministry said in an emailed statement. He died from the condition on Wednesday, it added.

Rights campaigners did not challenge the government's account that Jaffar had died as a result of an illness. But activist Mohammed al-Maskati told Reuters he had spoken to Jaffar and four others by phone after their arrest and “they told me that they have all been tortured.”

Bahrain's Interior Ministry, which regularly denies mistreating detainees, told Reuters on Wednesday Jaffar had not been tortured.

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