Daughter of Bahraini activist freed from jail

DUBAI Tue May 29, 2012 2:52pm BST

DUBAI (Reuters) - The daughter of a Bahraini opposition activist, arrested last month for trying to organise an anti-government protest, was released from jail on Tuesday after paying bail, her lawyer said.

Bahrain, a U.S. ally and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its majority Shi'ites erupted last year after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Zainab al-Khawaja is the daughter of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a leading Shi'ite figure in the uprising, who ended a more than three-month-long hunger strike on Monday after what he described as his success in drawing attention to the issue of imprisoned activists.

Zainab was arrested on April 21 for trying to stage a protest in the capital Manama during Bahrain's Formula One Grand Prix. She was sentenced last week to one month in jail and was fined 200 dinars ($530) on a separate charge related to insulting a government employee.

"We paid the bail today and she has already spent the month in jail, so she was freed," lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters by telephone from Manama.

Zainab is facing other charges related to trying to organise protests in Manama and the next court hearing is set for June 24, Jishi said.

Bahrain's Shi'ites complain they have long been marginalised in political and economic life, which the government denies. But there has been no progress on the main opposition demand for a parliament with full powers to legislate and form governments.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers have rejected opposition calls for an elected government and protests and clashes with police continue.

On Monday, opposition activist Nabeel Rajab, who was accused of organising illegal protests and insulting authorities in the Gulf Arab state, was freed from jail after being granted bail.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal)

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