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Bahrain to lift emergency decree

May 8, 2011 at 1:20 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain, May 8 (UPI) -- Bahrain's state of emergency will end June 1, the government said Sunday.

King Hamad al-Khalifa has decided to end the emergency rule he imposed March 15 during huge protests that threatened the minority Sunni Muslim monarchy's rule over the Shiite population, CNN reported, citing the official Bahrain News Agency.

Bahrain News also reported Sunday that 21 people have been put on trial for stirring unrest, including Shiite and human rights activists.

The defendants are accused of "terrorist attempts to topple the regime forcibly in collaboration with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country," the government press agency said.

More than 40 doctors and nurses were prosecuted last week for supporting "the saboteurs and the calls to bring down the political regime," Bahrain News said -- in other words, treating protesters wounded by security forces.

The government denies opposition charges it has been raiding hospitals.

The long-ruling Khalifa family is Sunni, but about two-thirds of the population is Shiite. Bahrain is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

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