Bahrain Releases Two Former Lawmakers After Unrest

Posted August 7th, 2011 at 4:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Bahrain has released a group of detainees, including two former Shi'ite lawmakers, who were arrested in the wake of widespread anti-government protests in the Gulf State earlier this year.

The official Bahrain News Agency says lawmakers Jawad Fairooz and Matar Matar, former MPs from the kingdom's largest Shi'ite party, Wefaq, were released from jail on Sunday along with an unspecified number of other detainees.

The two lawmakers are accused of spreading false information related to Shi'ite-led protests in May calling for regime change. At least 500 people were detained after Sunni rulers imposed emergency law and brought in military units from neighboring Gulf states to suppress the protests. More than 30 people died during the unrest.

After lifting emergency rule in early June, King Hamad agreed to a national dialogue committee's recommendations giving more power to the lower house of parliament and making human rights improvements. But Shi'ite lawmakers have continued to hold demonstrations against the government, arguing that the ruling party is not committed to real change and dialogue.