Bahrain's Emir Urges Opposition Figures in Exile to Return Home
Bahrain's Emir, Sheikh Hamad al-Khalifa, urged Wednesday opposition figures in exile to return home after they were given an amnesty, reported the Gulf News Thursday.
"Bahrainis living abroad for political or other reasons and willing to return home under the amnesty have been asked to contact the relevant Bahraini embassy to complete the formalities," a source said.
The emir issued Monday an amnesty for political prisoners and opposition figures in exile.
To expedite the process, the source added, the general directorate of immigration and passports asked all Bahraini citizens living abroad to contact the Bahraini embassy in their country of residence to complete the formalities and facilitate their return home.
The amnesty was one of the main opposition demands ahead of the February 14-15 referendum on a national charter to restore parliament, which was dissolved for "obstructing" the government, two years after it opened in 1973.
Around 100 people are still in detention without trial for their role in Shiite-led unrest which rocked the archipelago between 1994 and 1999.
Reports said that the amnesty was the first concrete step to bring the opposition into next week's referendum to restore democracy.
Next week, men and women over the age of 20 are being urged to vote in a referendum on far-reaching reforms set out in a document called the National Charter.
If approved, the measures will turn this small island state into a constitutional monarchy with a two-chamber parliament, one elected and the other appointed -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)