Bahrain king orders release of political prisoners

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 22, 2011 13:46

 
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MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain's king ordered the release of some political prisoners Tuesday, conceding to another opposition demand as the embattled monarchy tries to engage protesters in talks aimed at ending an uprising that has entered its second week.

The king's decree — which covers several Shi'ite activists accused of plotting against the state — adds to the brinksmanship on both sides that has included a massive pro-government rally Monday and the planned returned of a prominent opposition figure from exile.

It's unclear how many prisoners will be freed, said government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar.

But they include some of the 25 Shi'ite activists on trial for allegedly plotting against the Sunni rulers of the strategic island kingdom, a leading member of Bahrain's Shi'ite opposition, Abdul Jalili Khalil, told The Associated Press.

He called the prisoner release is "a good step" and a "positive gesture."

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