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American journalists held in Bahrain to be freed soon: Lawyer

A lawyer for four American journalists, who have been arrested in Bahrain while covering the anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising, says are expected to be transferred to a police station and freed today.

Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters news agency on Tuesday by telephone that he was there when the Americans were interrogated at the public prosecutor’s office.

He said the public prosecutor had not prevented them from travelling.

The US Embassy in the Bahraini capital of Manama issued a statement on Monday, saying it was “aware of the arrest of four US citizens in Bahrain,” but it could not provide details due to privacy concerns.

The four were detained on Sunday for providing “false information that they were tourists” in order to enter the country, but they carried out “media activity without a license,” according to an Interior Ministry statement.

“At least some of the arrestees were in the country as members of the international media, but had not registered with the concerned authority and were involved in illegal activities,” the statement said.

Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor for Manama Nawwaf al-Awadi said in a statement that police had arrested the four Americans while they were “participating with a group of saboteurs who were carrying out riot acts in Sitra”.

Bahraini police alleged that one of the journalists was seen “wearing a mask and participating in attacks on police” in the town of Sitra.

Witnesses told the Associated Press that the Americans were being held while police were clamping down on protesters.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the journalists consist of a woman, identified as Anna Day, and three male members of her camera crew.

The non-profit organization described the Americans as experienced journalists, who have most recently worked on virtual reality documentaries in Egypt and Gaza.

Meanwhile, the state-run Bahrain News Agency said the journalists had “been afforded full legal rights in line with the kingdom’s procedures and constitution while investigations continue.”

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in the kingdom, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power amid a media blackout.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime rallies.


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