MANAMA — Bahraini authorities on Friday freed Internet blogger Mahmood al-Yousif, also known as the "Blogfather", whose arrest drew criticism from the US State Department, the official news agency BNA said.
A government spokesman cited by BNA said Yousif was questioned on Thursday but gave no further details.
The United States has criticised the arrest, while also renewing its condemnation of violence in the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom where Shiite-led protests broke out in mid-February.
"We're deeply concerned about his arrest. He's a prominent and respected blogger," Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said on Wednesday.
"We're also concerned about reports of the detention of two other Internet activists who have expressed their views on recent events in Bahrain," Toner said.
"We hope that the Bahraini government's decision to arrest bloggers and Internet activists will not make it more difficult to resume a national dialogue," he said.
Yousif himself tweeted early on Wednesday from his home that he was being arrested.
His blog, "Mahmood's Den", describes itself as "an Arab man's attempt at bridging the cultural gap. Trying to make a difference, failing a lot, succeeding once in a while".
Ali Salman, leader of the Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, said earlier this week that about 300 arrests have been made since March 16 when security forces crushed a camp in central Manama set up by pro-democracy demonstrators.
MP Matar Matar, meanwhile, who has resigned along with his Al-Wefaq colleagues in protest at violence used against demonstrators, said on Friday he was barred from travel out of Bahrain.
"Security agents in civilian clothes informed me of the decision at Manama airport as I was preparing to leave for Kuwait," he told AFP.
The move follows a vote in parliament to accept 11 out of Wefaq's 18 resignations, exposing the 11 including Matar to possible legal action having been stripped of parliamentary immunity.
At least 24 people, including four policemen, were killed in a month of protests, according to Bahraini officials. Toner said US officials "condemn the violence against civilians and peaceful protesters" in Bahrain.
On Thursday, Bahraini authorities said a teenager who died of injuries near Manama this week was not shot as alleged by the Shiite opposition but had suffered a "fatal neck fracture".
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