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Sat 6 Aug 2011 10:02 AM

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Bahrain opposition editor says has been reinstated

Mansoor al-Jamri, former editor-in-chief of Al Wasat, says board has voted to give him his job back

Bahrain opposition editor says has been reinstated
The top editor of a Bahraini opposition newspaper who was forced to resign and was prosecuted after anti-government protests in the Gulf island kingdom has said the papers board had voted to give him back his job. (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The top editor of a Bahraini opposition newspaper who was forced to resign and was prosecuted after anti-government protests in the Gulf island kingdom has said the paper's board had voted to give him back his job.

Mansoor al-Jamri, former editor-in-chief of Al Wasat, the country's only independent daily before it was briefly closed and its senior staff removed, said the paper's board had voted on Thursday to reinstate him.

"They discussed several issues and came to the relationship between the state and the newspaper," he said. "Because the company is facing some strategic decisions, a majority of the board took a decision to reinstate me."

Bahrain's state news agency late on Thursday quoted the head of the paper's board, who was not present for the vote, as saying it was invalid, and that the paper's general assembly would discussion the decision on Sunday.

Jamri is one of three senior editors being tried on charges of fabricating news when the paper was reporting the protests, led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority against the Sunni ruling family's government, that swept Bahrain in February.

The editors have pleaded not guilty, arguing that they were fed disinformation as part of a campaign to discredit the newspaper. A fourth employee of the paper who was deported is being tried in absentia.

Jamri, along with the paper's managing editor and head of local news, resigned in April, saying he had done so to protect the paper and its staff from political pressure. Al Wasat was suspended briefly in April before Jamri's departure.

Bahrain last month held a state-sponsored "National Dialogue" on grievances behind the protests, which the kingdom crushed in March with military help from fellow Sunni-led monarchies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated against the Dialogue, saying it had failed to bring real democratic reform.

Bahrain has also asked international law experts to conduct an inquiry into the protests and their aftermath, in which more than 1,000 people were detained. At least four people died in state custody, including Al Wasat's founder Karim Fakhrawi.

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