A defence lawyer in Bahrain says 21 medical personnel have been cleared of charges linked to anti-government protests but cases remain open against two others who failed to appear in court.

Lawyer Abdulla al-Shamlawi said a court on Thursday issued the acquittals, but left charges against two who did not appear in court.

Arrests of dozens of doctors and nurses were part of the crackdown by the Gulf kingdom's Sunni rulers after an uprising began in 2011 by majority Shias seeking a greater political voice.

International medical groups denounced the arrests.

The medics, nearly all of whom were Shia, were charged with taking part in illegal protests and other acts linked to the demonstrations.

In October, five doctors lost their appeals on protest-related charges. Others have been freed or tried in absentia.

Source: Agencies