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Bahrain nursing official freed from custody

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August 21, 2011 10:54 AM EST | AP


MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahraini authorities have released the country's top nursing official after five months in custody .

Rola al-Safar was detained during crackdowns on Shiite-led protesters demanding greater rights.

Rights groups say the release of al-Safar and another detainee, teachers' union official Jalila al-Salman, came after jailhouse meetings with the head of an international panel investigating alleged abuses in the Gulf nation's six-month-old unrest.

Al-Safar is among more than two dozen doctors and nurses facing charges linked to the demonstrations by Bahrain's majority Shiites, who claim widespread discrimination by Sunni rulers. At least 19 medical personnel remain in custody.

Hundreds of well-wishers streamed toward al-Safar's house after her release Sunday.