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Bahrain vows to lift emergency rule

Bahrain’s king has pledged to end the emergency rule in a bid to display confidence among the opposition groups although the nationwide crackdown continues.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said late Sunday that a fast-track timetable has been set to end the emergency rule two weeks earlier on June 1, AP reported.

The declaration to remove the emergency rule declared in mid-March, gave no details of what would take its place, including whether the nighttime curfew would end or if the numerous checkpoints would be dismantled.

The announcement came just hours after a closed-door military court on Sunday charged 21 human rights activists with attempted subversion, alleging they tried to overthrow the ruling monarchy.

Analysts say the move is a bid to show that Saudi-backed regime forces have managed to silence the opposition.

Meanwhile, human rights groups have denounced the massive clampdown on opposition activists seeking greater rights and freedoms.

Watchdog groups, including the top UN rights agency, have accused Bahraini authorities of overstepping their bounds with closed-door trials and mass detentions of hundreds of protesters, activists and others.

Anti-government protests began in mid-February calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty.

On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed police and military forces in the oil-rich kingdom to help quell the nationwide protests.

According to local sources, scores of people, including human rights campaigners, have been killed — some under torture — and hundreds of others are held in custody.

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