4 American Journalists Released Following Arrest in Bahrain

VOA News

Four American journalists charged in Bahrain have been released and are due to fly out of the country, their lawyer said Tuesday.

The journalists, arrested on Sunday, had been charged earlier in the day with illegally assembling with the intent to commit a crime.

Police said the woman and three men entered the country last week and performed journalistic activities without permission from authorities «in addition to carrying out illegal acts.»

The journalists went to Bahrain to cover the anniversary of the tiny island’s pro-democracy protests that were crushed by authorities five years ago. They were arrested Sunday in the Shi’ite town of Sitra during clashes between protesters and security forces.

Protests by the country’s majority Shi’ite opposition have persisted since the 2011 uprising, which came amid the wave of pro-democracy movements in other Arab countries.

Demonstrators have demanded democratic reforms and an end to what they say is the discrimination by Bahrain’s Sunni rulers.

Bahrain, an important U.S. ally, is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet and is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State militant group.