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Bahrain Monarch Orders Release of Rights' Activist

The king of Bahrain has ordered the release of a human rights activist shortly after he was sentenced to a year in prison for political dissent.

The king, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, ordered the release Sunday, hours after a court in the capital, Manama, found defendant Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja guilty of defamation and jeopardizing public interests.

The defendant was arrested in late September, one day after he publicly accused the prime minister of mismanaging the economy and of human rights violations, and called for his resignation. The government subsequently closed the offices of the Bahrain Center for Human rights.

The Associated Press says the king also ordered the release today of 13 others arrested last month for demonstrating public support for the defendant.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.