Babylon & Beyond

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BAHRAIN: Emergency law lifted; human rights activist summoned by military

May 31, 2011 |  6:39 pm

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Bahrain lifted its emergency law Wednesday, almost three months after it called in Saudi troops to crush a largely peaceful protest movement popular among the island’s Shiite population.

What that means, though, is anyone’s guess, as many suspected demonstrators remain in jail and even in the final hours of emergency law, one of the country’s leading human rights activists was summoned to a military court.

Protests were planned for Wednesday by rights groups. It remained an open question whether the government would tolerate them.

King Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa on Tuesday gave a speech calling for negotiations with the opposition in Bahrain at the start of July. But hours after he spoke, leading rights activist Nabeel Rajab was summoned to court by the military authorities.

"The military prosecutor summoned the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Mr. Nabeel Rajab, to appear before the court today at 6 in the evening, and the summon was conveyed to Mr. Rajab at 4 in the afternoon the same day," his organization said in a statement. "Mr. Nabeel Rajab proceeded to go to the center where he was summoned accompanied by his lawyer, but has since been missing in action and has not made any contact up until the writing of this appeal."

For the record, 2:06 p.m., June 1: An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of Bahrain's king as Hamead ibn Isa Khalifa. It is Hamed ibn Isa Khalifa.

-- Ned Parker in Baghdad