|Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khawaja freed after nearly a year in prison||
After nearly a year in prison for multiple convictions, Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khawaja was released on Sunday, AFP reported.
"One year of prison is nothing," she told journalists hours after her release at a coffee shop in a main mall. "We have a cause... This will not stop us."
Her lawyer Mohammed al-Attiyah said she still faces two more trials in the coming few months in regards to charges that include damaging police property, defacing a picture of Bahrain's king and insulting a police officer.
Al-Khawaja, who is popular online and on Twitter, known as AngryArabiya , called for international attention to focus on an estimated 3,000 prisoners believed to be behind bars in Bahrain on politically related charges.
Her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, is a prominent activist and former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He is among several opposition figures who are currently serving life sentences. He drew attention to his imprisonment with a lengthy hunger strike in 2012.
Meanwhile, a Bahrain court Sunday handed down 15-year jail terms to two activists convicted of trying to kill police officers in the Persian Gulf state rocked by violence for three years.
The official BNA news agency cited acting chief prosecutor Mohammed Salah as saying the two were found guilty of premeditated attempted murder and possessing a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition.
Last year the authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death sentence or life terms in the case of people being killed or wounded.
Al-Khawaja's release came a day after tens of thousands of Bahrainis joined a peaceful demonstration to mark the third anniversary of an abortive pro-democracy uprising.
The rally organized by the kingdom's main opposition al-Wefaq movement was one of the biggest staged since 2011.
Vast crowds of men, women and children took to the streets of the small Persian Gulf Arab nation calling for democracy, political reform and the release of political prisoners, witnesses said.
"We will not stop until we achieve our demands," protesters shouted. "Shias and Sunnis, we all love this country."
Bahrain, with Saudi help, crushed the demonstrations that began on Feb. 14, 2011 inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere, but has yet to resolve the conflict between the population and the monarchy oppressing them.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was concerned about reports of clashes between demonstrators and security forces on Friday, and urged the authorities to act in strict accordance with their international human rights obligations.
The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed since the uprising began three years ago.
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