(Adds the photographer's release)
DUBAI, March 23 Bahraini authorities released a
former Agence France-Presse photographer on Thursday after
holding him for more than 24 hours because of his work for AFP,
the French news agency reported.
Mohammed Al-Shaikh, a prize-winning local photojournalist
who worked for AFP in Bahrain for several years, was arrested at
Manama airport late on Tuesday, AFP and the UK-based Bahrain
Press Association - a media rights group - said late on
The authorities did not immediately respond to a Reuters
request for comment, nor responded to AFP requests for an
explanation of the incident.
The photographer was returning from a holiday abroad when he
was detained. His family said he had been released and did not
face any charges, AFP reported on Thursday.
Al-Shaikh won the 2014 Bayeux-Calvados prize for his
coverage of an uprising in the island monarchy in 2011, which
was put down by the authorities with help from several other
Gulf Arab states.
AFP said his accreditation expired last August and
authorities had not renewed it, putting an end to his Bahrain
coverage after more than four years with the agency.
Human rights groups say Bahrain, a strategic island that is
home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has carried out a wide
crackdown on dissent since the uprising led by the country's
majority Shi'ites to demand a greater role in government.
Bahrain says its actions are directed against people who
foment violence and sectarian tensions in the kingdom, denying
charges by activists that it is targeting journalists and
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Michael Perry and