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Bahrain pardons hundreds of prisoners as coronavirus fears spread

While authorities have attributed the release to humanitarian reasons, human rights groups link the decision to efforts to contain the outbreak.
General view of Bahrain Seef district in Manama, Bahrain, June 20, 2019. Picture taken June 20, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed - RC1A9E6ACA10

As nations across the globe struggle with the spread of the novel coronavirus, Bahrain has ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners, part of a thinly veiled effort to contain the pandemic, rights groups contend.

On Thursday, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued a decree granting pardon for 901 prisoners. A further 585 inmates will serve out the rest of their sentences in rehabilitation and training programs, the state-run Bahrain news agency reported.

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