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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Regime Shuts Away Its Political Prisoners

See also Syria Live Coverage: Has the Insurgent Advance Stalled?

1900 GMT: Bahrain. The European Union has reacted to the regime's re-assertion of long prison sentences on 13 political prisoners with a call for their release. Spokesman Michael Mann said, "The EU has repeatedly asked the Bahraini authorities to consider an amnesty for all those arrested last year and tried on charges relating to the expression of their political opinion."

Mann said the European Union "fully respects the independence of the Bahraini judiciary" but "remains concerned about the lack of advancement of national reconciliation". He continued, "All sides should engage in a peaceful, inclusive and constructive dialogue, abstaining from all forms of violence and intimidation."

1514 GMT: Egypt. Qatar said on Tuesday that it will lend Cairo an additional $2 billion and grant it an extra $500 million outright, as the Morsi Government faces a currency crisis.

,p>“There was an initial package of $2.5 billion, of which $0.5 billion was a grant and $2 billion a deposit,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told reporters after meeting Morsi.

Egypt has spent more than $20 billion in foreign reserves to support the Egyptian pound as it faces uncertainty over Government programmes and a proposed $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. President Morsi ordered tax increases last month, but revoked them within 24 hours.

Cairo now has only $15 billion in reserves, equal to about three months of imports.

1508 GMT: Libya. The only suspect held over September's attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi has been released due to lack of evidence, his lawyer said today.

Ali Harzi, who was being held by authorities in Tunisia, was conditionally released on Monday night, attorney Anwar Oued-Ali said. Harzi must remain within the greater Tunis area in case the court recalled him.

1258 GMT: Iraq. Sunni and Kurdish ministers boycotted a Cabinet session on Tuesday to show support for protests challenging Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Government.

Thousands of protesters have demonstrated over more than two weeks, claiming discrimination against Sunnis and Government repression. They have blocked a key highway, leading to Syria, in Anbar Province in western Iraq.

"They made a decision to boycott the session today," Iraqiyy Party lawmaker Jaber al-Jaberi said. "They don't see a response from the government to the demands of the protesters... or to accepting power-sharing."

Alaa Talabani, a Kurdish lawmaker, said party leaders had also asked Kurdish ministers to stay away.

Meanwhile, thousands of mainly-Shia demonstrators have held rallies in suport of the Government in the cities of Basra, Kut, Diwaniyah, Karbala, and Samawa.

1138 GMT: Turkey. Twelve Kurdish insurgents and one Turkish soldier have been killed in clashes along the Turkey-Iraq border, security sources said on Tuesday.

The sources claimed the insurgents opened fire from inside Iraq on a remote outpost in Hakkari Province in southeast Turkey on Monday night,

Turkish security forces fired mortars at the insurgents who were using the area's thick fog and snowfall as cover, the sources said.

0838 GMT: Egypt. Issandr El Imrani offers a useful analysis of this weekend's Cabinet re-shuffle, with the introduction of 10 new Ministers.

0759 GMT: Iraq. Gunmen killed two policemen and security forces discovered the corpse of a woman stabbed to death in Mosul on Monday, officials said.

0755 GMT: Libya. The Ministry of Martyrs and Missing Persons has reported that, during the uprising against the Qaddafi regime, 4700 people died and 2100 went missing.

The figure is far lower than an initial estimate of 50,000 deaths. later revised down to 25,000. These latest statistics have been compiled after "careful research", but they do not include the final figure for casualties on the Qaddafi side.

0730 GMT: Bahrain. On Monday, after almost two years of military and civilian court hearings, the regime's judiciary gave its final answer on 13 prominent political prisoners.

Their sentences --- ranging from five years to life --- will not be reduced, let alone quashed. Their sentences will never be reduced.

The Kingdom's highest court confirmed the decisions of a June 2011 military tribunal, which found the 13 men guilty of trying to overthrow the regime. Seven others were sentenced in absentia. There is no further right of appeal.

The 13 men include Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Sentenced to life, he pursued a hunger strike for almost four months in early 2012. Hassan Mushaimaa, leader of the Haq Party, will also serve a life term. Ibrahim Sharif, the head of the National Democratic Action Society, faces a five-year sentence.

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