Shi’ite opposition leader Hassan Meshaima is expected to return to Bahrain Saturday after months of self-imposed exile in London.
Meshaima had been among a group of Shi’ite activists accused of plotting to overthrow the Bahraini government. Bahrain released more than 20 of Meshaima’s alleged co-conspirators from prison Tuesday.
The opposition leader began his return from Britain several days ago, but authorities in Lebanon confiscated his passport. It was returned after Bahrain’s government confirmed that he is no longer wanted.
Meshaima’s opposition group, known as Haq, is considered more radical than the main Shi’ite political bloc, al-Wefaq, which has so far taken a leading role in the uprising.
Al-Wefaq is seeking the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
Friday, tens of thousands of protesters converged on Pearl Square in the capital, Manama, to press their demands for the government’s resignation and democratic reforms.
The government had declared Friday a day of mourning for the seven people who died in protests in the past two weeks. The protests have been led by the country’s Shi’ite majority, who are demanding reforms from the Sunni-led government.