Bahrain's King to End Emergency Law
Announcement comes as trial against activists begins
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2011 5:08 PM CDT
A car passes a pro-government billboard Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Muharraq, Bahrain.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

(Newser) – Bahrain's king set a fast-track timetable to end martial law-style rule today in a bid to display confidence that authorities have smothered a pro-reform uprising even as rights groups denounced the hard-line measures. The announcement to lift emergency rule two weeks early on June 1 came just hours after the start of a closed-door trial accusing activists of plotting to overthrow the Gulf state's rulers.

The declaration to remove the emergency rule gave no details of what would take its place, including whether the nighttime curfew would end or if the numerous checkpoints would be dismantled. Twenty-one opposition leaders and political activists went on trial today in a special security court set up under the emergency rule, which gives the military sweeping powers. The suspects are accused of attempting to overthrow the 200-year-old Sunni dynasty and having links to "a terrorist organization abroad working for a foreign country." Click for the full story.