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Bahrain releases dozens of prisoners after Covid cases

Manama had vowed to release 199 prisoners and detainees, but only 166 have so far walked out of prison
Bahrain says a vaccination campaign has been completed in Faw prison (AFP)

Dozens of detainees, including long-term political prisoners, have been released following protests by their families over Covid-19 cases in their jail, activists said Saturday.

The activists said authorities had vowed to set free 126 prisoners and 73 other detainees but only 166 have so far been released from the jail in Faw, in the east of the kingdom.

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Bahraini officials say three inmates have contracted coronavirus and been isolated and that their condition is stable. A prison vaccination campaign has been completed, according to the health ministry. 

However, the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says dozens of prisoners have caught the virus in the heavily overcrowded jail.

Mohammed Jawad, 75, an uncle of prominent rights activist Nabil Rajab, is among those released after spending 10 years in prison. The released prisoners will carry out the rest of their sentences under electronic monitoring.

Since a Shia-led 2011 uprising in the kingdom, Bahrain has banned main opposition groups, barred their members from running in elections, and arrested dozens of activists.