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Bahrain releases ex-AFP photographer

Bahraini officials have freed award-wining photographer Mohammed Al-Shaikh after holding him for over 24 hours, his family said. Al-Shaikh was detained while coming back to Bahrain after a holiday abroad.

The photographer - who had been detained over his work for French news agency AFP - will face no charges, his family said on Thursday. Bahraini authorities had detained him late on Tuesday at the airport in the capital, Manama, while returning home from a vacation.

Mohammed Al-Shaikh had worked for AFP in Bahrain until August when authorities refused to prolong his accreditation. The oil-rich Gulf state also refused to issue visas or prolong authorizations for many other journalists working for foreign outlets last year.

Bahrain is still dealing with the consequences of the 2011 Arab Spring and the ensuing crackdown, which saw the majority Shiite rally against the Sunni-dominated government. In response, authorities called Saudi military to quash protests and detained dozens of dissenters. Rights groups around the world have repeatedly criticized the Manama government for its response.

Al-Shaikh won the Bayeux-Calvados prize for his coverage of the uprising and the crackdown in 2014.

Authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment from AFP and Reuters.

Bahrain Demonstration für Demokratie und die Freilassung inhaftierter Aktivisten (Getty ImagesAFP/M. Al-Shaikh)

A pciture of a Bahraini girl during a 2013 anti-regime rally in Bahrain by Mohammed Al-Shaikh

Journalist Nazeeha Saeed, with France 24 and Arabic radio station Monte Carlo Doualiya, is currently on trial for working "without the necessary authorization."

dj/kms (AFP, Reuters)