Bahrain opposition leader acquitted for links with terror group

Bahrain opposition leader acquitted for links with terror group

MANAMA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- A Bahrain top opposition leader accused of having links with an outlawed "terrorist" group was acquitted by the High Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Former member of parliament from the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society Khalil al-Marzooq was finally acquitted in the high profile case, as the country's top opposition group welcomed the verdict.

"Khalil al-Marzooq has been acquitted of all the charges against him, and this verdict in his favor is because of popular movement and support from local and international rights group," Wefaq said in a statement.

Wefaq has recently launched major campaigns to rally support for opposition protesters and leaders.

In April, Wefaq began a one-day hunger strike in solidarity with prisoners locked in Bahraini jails. The group said that about 400 inmates went on hunger strike to protest alleged human rights violations and mistreatment. Bahrain's top security chief has denied the allegations of abuse, though the interior ministry announced it would investigate some of the allegations.

Diplomats from the American, British and French embassies were present during the hearing on Wednesday along with human rights activists and representatives of local and foreign media.

The opposition leader was arrested after allegedly being caught on camera raising the flag of the outlawed Coalition of February 14, a group the government brands as "terrorists" last September during an opposition rally in Saar.

Following his arrest, Wefaq along with four other opposition groups pulled out of the national dialogue that aimed to end the political deadlock that has been gripping the country since 2011.