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Bahrain King Says Abuses To Be Punished

Bahrainian King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa
Bahrain's king says officials involved in abuses during a crackdown on antigovernment protests earlier this year will be held accountable and replaced.

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa made the pledge on November 23 at the release of a report by an independent commission into the February-March events.

The report concluded that "there have been instances of excessive force and mistreatment of detainees, as well as five deaths as a result of torture" during the crackdown on the protests.

It also said it found no proof of an Iranian link with the incidents. Bahrain has accused Tehran of inciting the protests.

King Hamad vowed to do everything possible so "those painful events won't be repeated," adding: "We must reform our laws to bring them in line with international standards."

On November 21, authorities said 20 members of the security forces had been charged for alleged abuse of protesters during the month of unrest, in which several dozen people were killed and hundreds of others were injured.

The Shi'ite-led protests were calling for greater rights in the Sunni-ruled island nation.

compiled from agency reports