Bahrain releases 308 prisoners under protesters' pressure
The Bahraini government on Wednesday announced the release of 308 prisoners following the orders by the leadership, according to Xinhua.
Among those released are 23 terrorist suspects, who were charged to be a part of a cell aimed to jeopardize state security. The Information Affairs Authority said the decision to release the men was by a decision by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
The government has been under intense pressure after Shiite protestors camped at the Pearl Square on Feb. 15 and increasing criticism from international human rights groups for detaining political prisoners.
Nabeel Rajab from the defunct Bahrain Center for Human Rights told Xinhua that most of the men released were those facing drug charges and other criminal offense. "We still need to ensure that no one is detained for expressing their opinions," he said.
Saeed Aqeel Mosawi, one of the released prisoners, who was part of the 23 terror network, met with protestors at the Square and said he was happy to be with his supporters.
Following a detailed intelligence gathering operation by Bahrain`s National Security Agency the 23 accused were arrested from Aug. 13 onwards under Bahrain`s "Protecting the Community from Terrorism Act 2006."
Prosecutors named the Bahrain-based leaders of the network as- Abduljalil Al Singace, Mohamed Habeeb Al Saffaf, Abdulhadi Al Mokhaidar along with London-based Bahraini nationals Saeed Al Shehabi and Husain Mushaima.
Bahrain, a close U.S. ally is home to its Navy`s Fifth Fleet.