Bahrain frees American journalists

Defence lawyer says journalists are heading to airport after brief detention and have not been punished with travel ban.

    Bahrain frees American journalists
    Security forces fired tears gas at those demonstrating for more rights on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising [Hasan Jamali/AP Photo]

    A defence lawyer for four US journalists who were arrested in Bahrain says they are heading to the airport to fly out of the country.

    Mohammed al-Jishi told The Associated Press that the journalists had left a police station and were on their way to the airport to fly out on Tuesday night.

    Al-Jishi said authorities put no travel ban on the four, even though they had faced a charge after being arrested on Sunday while covering the anniversary of Bahrain's 2011 uprising.

    Bahrain police said it detained the four for providing "false information that they were tourists" and also alleged that one took part in an attack on Bahraini officers.

    Earlier in the day, prosecutors said they had charged the journalists with illegally assembling with the intent to commit a crime.

    The freelance journalist Anna Therese Day was among those arrested, according to a statement from Day's family, released on Monday. 

    Day has previously contributed to Al Jazeera's AJ+.

    "The four are experienced journalists, having most recently worked on virtual reality documentary filmmaking in Egypt and Gaza, and we hope the Bahraini authorities will release them rapidly and without harm," the Day family's statement said. 

    "Anna and her crew are committed journalists who only want to ensure they could undertake their profession ethically and thoroughly.

    "The allegation that they were in any way involved in illegal behaviour or anything other than journalistic activities is impossible."

    Freelance journalist Anna Therese Day was among those arrested, her family said [Frontline Freelance]

    WATCH: Bahrain, five years after the protests

    The Arabic-language Mira'at al-Bahrain, or Bahrain Mirror, newspaper said that four American journalists had been detained in Sitra, a Shia village east of Manama, on Sunday while covering clashes between local demonstrators and security forces.

    Earlier in the week, hundreds of people took to the streets of the Bahraini capital, Manama, to mark the anniversary of 2011 protests

    Police on Saturday fired tear gas and used rubber bullets at the Shia Muslim demonstrators who were calling for political reform.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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