Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bahrain Says Will Release Political Prisoners

MANAMA—In a bid to appease opposition demonstrators, Bahrain's king on Tuesday agreed to free some political prisoners, even as the protesters prepared for another big demonstration in the capital later in the day.

Full details of the number and the identities of prisoners to be pardoned by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa weren't immediately clear. But the main opposition bloc al-Wefaq said the decree included 25 Shiite activists, who were on trial for allegedly plotting against the state.
"No official statement has been made yet but we have been promised that the political prisoners will be included in the pardon. We will, of course, review our position after the prisoners are released, but this is a positive step," said Abdul Jalil Khalil, an al-Wefaq lawmaker.
At a government news conference on Tuesday, spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar said it is "unclear" how many prisoners would be freed, but stressed that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa was committed to ensuring "the participation of all political groups so that everyone can get round the table."

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