Former Shiite MP Jawad Fyrouz
An independent commission of inquiry into the unrest in Bahrain said on Tuesday that 137 detainees have been released to await trial in civilian courts, including former Shiite MP Jawad Fyrouz, pictured here in 2008. © - AFP/File
Former Shiite MP Jawad Fyrouz
AFP
Last updated: August 10, 2011

More than 135 freed in Bahrain

An independent commission of inquiry into the unrest in Bahrain said on Tuesday that 137 detainees have been released to await trial in civilian courts, including two former Shiite MPs.

"We are immensely pleased that these detainees have been released ... They can now enjoy the (Muslim) holy month of Ramadan with their families," Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry chairman Mahmud Sherif Bassiouni said in a statement.

Bassiouni said the 137 were being freed on the order of the attorney general.

"The investigative team have made a number of visits to prisons, detention centres and police stations, and hospitals, many of which have been unannounced," the Egyptian professor said.

"We are continuing our investigation of reports of mistreatment and torture, and we will soon have a team of forensic medical experts from outside the country come in to look at all individuals who have complained of physical mistreatment and torture."

Among those allowed to go home are two former MPs from Bahrain's largest Shiite formation, the Islamic National Accord Association (Al-Wefaq), Matar Matar and Jawad Fayrouz, who were arrested at gunpoint in early May.

The men were being tried by a national safety court for having allegedly called for regime change and spreading rumours linked to the pro-democracy street protests in Bahrain in January and February.

Bahrain declared a State of National Safety, a lower degree of emergency, on March 16, a day before security forces crushed the month-long protests demanding democratic reforms.

On June 1, King Hamad announced a lifting of the state of emergency and all cases were referred to civilian courts.

At least 500 people have been detained in Bahrain since the protests broke out in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom, which has a Shiite majority, according to Amnesty International.

Almost 2,000 people have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs, it said.

Security forces in the archipelago cracked down on the mostly Shiite protesters in mid-March after being backed by troops with tanks who rolled in from neighbouring Sunni Gulf monarchies.

Bahraini authorities said 24 people were killed during the unrest, most of them demonstrators.

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