DUBAI - Bahrain said on Tuesday it would pay $2.6 million to 17 families over deaths last year during an 'Arab Spring' uprising that the Gulf Arab state put down by force.

"Disbursement of compensation to the families of 17 deceased persons has begun in keeping with the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)," said a government statement citing a justice ministry official, adding this amounted to $153,000 per individual.

It gave no details on who the recipients were.

The BICI, an investigative body head by international legal experts, said in November 35 people died during the unrest, which began in February 2011 after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

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