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Tue 5 May 2009 07:44 AM

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Judges set to deliver verdict on Bahrain ban

Hotelier in court to seek one-year delay to new gov't rules on one, two star hotels.

Judges in Bahrain are due to decide on Tuesday whether to delay a government ban on alcohol and entertainment in the country's one and two-star hotels.

Regent Palace investor Fateh Al Basri appeared in court on Monday after filing a case in the Civil Administration Court, seeking a one-year grace period before the ban is brought in.

His attorney, Basim Al Safaf, also asked judges to suspend the ban on his client's hotel, until the court case is settled, due to massive losses suffered by his client, Gulf Daily News reported.

According to the paper, judges said they would rule on Tuesday on whether to suspend the ban until the case is settled but adjourned the actual case until June 7.

Al Safaf told the court that the Culture and Information Ministry did not provide any legal reasons for the ban on alcohol and live entertainment in one and two star hotels, which is believed to have affected 39 hotels.

Al Safaf said the ministry's decision was arbitrary, in that it lacked any legal foundation.

He said his client was suffering massive losses and was also facing court action for failing to honour his arrears to the hotel owner.

Al Basri said hoteliers were not opposed to the ban in principle, but were simply asking for more time to comply.

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