Protesters hold photos of Sheikh Ali Salman, Bahrain's main opposition leader and Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq Islamic Society, as they march asking for his release in the village of Jidhafs, west of Manama, in Bahrain June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo(reuters_tickers)
DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini court on Tuesday ordered the suspension of the country's main opposition al-Wefaq Islamic group and set a hearing in October to look into dissolving it, a lawyer for al-Wefaq said on his Twitter account.
The move against the Shi'ite Muslim group could further deepen a political impasse in the Sunni-ruled country, which was rocked by mass protests by majority Shi'ite Muslims in 2011 demanding a bigger role in government.
"Two hours after a petition to stop the activities of al-Wefaq and to close its office, the administrative court swiftly approved the (justice) minister's request," lawyer Abdallah al-Shamlawi wrote on his Twitter account.
He said that the court ordered al-Wefaq's activities suspended and its offices closed, and set October 6 as the date for a hearing into the request for its dissolution.
The Justice Ministry said it had filed the request to dissolve al-Wefaq, which it said "works within a political, religious and foreign framework", according to state news agency BNA. There was no immediate comment from al-Wefaq on the report.
Al-Wefaq won 18 out of 40 parliamentary seats in a 2010 election, but pulled out of parliament a year later during a crackdown against mostly Shi'ite protesters demanding greater democracy.
Bahrain, a Western-allied Gulf Arab kingdom, hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Dominic Evans)