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Trial Opens for Shi'ite Activists in Bahrain

Bahraini lawyer Mohamed al-Tajer, right in white, walks away from the Manama, Bahrain, courthouse where the first session of a heavily guarded trial opened for more than two dozen Shiite activists accused of plotting against Bahrain's Sunni rulers. The de

A trial opened Thursday for at least 25 Shi'ite activists who are accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

The suspects face charges that include "forming an illegal organization" and "resorting to terrorism." They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and complained of alleged torture while in detention. Security was heightened in the courtroom.

The trial could raise tensions between Bahrain's Sunni-dominant government and members of its Shi'ite majority who have long complained about a lack of government representation.

The country's main Shi'ite Muslim political bloc did make inroads in Saturday's parliamentary elections, with all 18 of its candidates winning seats in the 40-member parliament. The wins reflect a one-seat gain for the al-Wefaq bloc, compared to results from the last poll in 2006.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.