Bahrain releases 1,584 prisoners with conditions

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2024

DUBAI: Bahrain on Monday conditionally released 1,584 prisoners, including some serving life sentences and others convicted on charges related to protests that occurred in 2011.

They were released under a 2017 “alternative sentences” law, under which prisoners who had served at least half their sentence in jail were allowed to complete it outside via measures including community service, rehabilitation courses and electronic surveillance.

“Many of those released were originally convicted of violent crimes or public disorder offences. All Bail or related fees have been waived,” the government communications office said in a statement.

About 65 percent of those released were convicted on charges related to riots, a government spokesperson told Reuters.

Bahrain has kept a lid on dissent since the opposition staged a failed anti-government uprising in 2011. Saudi Arabia sent in troops to help crush that unrest.

The Gulf state has imprisoned thousands of protesters, journalists and activists - some in mass trials - since 2011. It says it prosecutes those who commit crimes in accordance with international law, and rejects criticism from the United Nations and others over the conduct of trials and detention conditions.