MANAMA // Bahrain established a special fund yesterday to pay compensation to civilians and others harmed "physically or morally" by public officials or security forces, in a decree aimed at easing tensions before a parliamentary election this week.
The decision by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also comes about six weeks before a report by an independent commission probing allegations of abuse since Shiites began protests for greater rights in February.
The new fund, announced on the official Bahrain News Agency, would apparently cover all Bahrainis - including security officials and public officials - who would be considered victimised during the protests.
It also said money would be set aside for those injured while helping people hurt in the demonstrations - a gesture to medical teams and emergency crews.
More than two dozen doctors and nurses have faced trial on charges that range from anti-state subversion to lesser allegations of backing the protests.
More than 30 people died in the violence, including two police officers. Shiites account for about 70 per cent of Bahrain's 525,000 citizens, but claim they face discrimination.
The report on the new compensation fund said it would follow UN guidelines on reparations, and cases would be determined by a "specialised court", but gave no further details on the process or the possible payout amounts.