- Title: BAHRAIN: Freed Bahraini activist is given a hero's welcome in his home village
- Date: 1st May 2012
- Summary: ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS SAYING "With our soul with our blood we will protect our martyrs."
- Embargoed: 16th May 2012 13:00
- Location: Bahrain
- Country: Bahrain
- Topics: Politics,People
- Reuters ID: LVAEUJR7NEYQAKY69YYMSEFWVSIC
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Bahrain should release immediately leaders of last year's pro-democracy uprising, including a rights activist on hunger strike, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday (May 1), after an appeals court ordered a retrial.
The cassation court, the highest judicial body in the Gulf Arab state, moved the case of 21 men who were tried in a military court amid accusations of torture to a civilian court and released one of the lesser-known men, Horr al-Sumaikh. Seven of the 21 are abroad or in hiding.
The court said 20 would remain in custody, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, being held in a military hospital after nearly three months of hunger strike.
Sumaikh, who was released by the appeals court, was given a hero's welcome in his village of Nuwaidrat on Monday (April 30) night.
"Of course today is a happy day for the release of my brother, Horr al-Sumaikh, after a period of one year and one month, and he has been freed from his sentence and the sentence ruled was a period of six months. And, as you see, the situation is excellent and, as you see, all came to meet one who has spent a long time away and we wish to see the rest of other political and rights activists freed," his brother Mohammed said as well-wishers met him with flowers and hand-clapping.
Meanwhile protesters staged an anti-government rally in his village of Nuwaidrat ahead of Labour Day, holding banners reading "Where's my job?" and chanting "Down, down Hamad (King of Bahrain)".
Bahrain remains in turmoil over one year after the protests, led by the island's Shi'ite majority, first erupted following successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
Opposition parties hold mass rallies every week and clashes between riot police and youth protesters break out nightly in Shi'ite neighbourhoods around the country.
The unrest threatens the stability of Bahrain, an ally of Saudi Arabia and the United States in their stand-off with Iran, and sparked Saudi calls for a union of oil-exporting Gulf Arab states to keep Tehran and regional protest movements at bay.
The government, dominated by the Sunni ruling Al Khalifa family, brands the opposition as Shi'ite Islamist extremists who want to seize power and ally Bahrain with Iran. The opposition denies this, saying it is an excuse to retain privileges.
Opposition leaders say the protest movement will continue until all prisoners are released and political and rights reforms are enacted. The key demand is for parliament to have full powers to legislate and form governments.
More protests were planned for later on Tuesday.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Video restrictions: parts of this video may require additional clearances. Please see ‘Business Notes’ for more information.