Abdul Hadi Al Mukhaider, center in white, a Bahraini Shiite Muslim cleric who was standing trial for plotting against the regime, stands with wellwishers on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, outside the main police station in Manama, Bahrain, after being released. Image Credit: AP

Manama: Bahraini authorities have released 23 activists held on terrorism counts and pardoned two others abroad including opposition leader Hassan Mashaima, an MP said Wednesday.

"The 23 have been released," MP Jasem Hussain, a member of the opposition Islamic National Accord Association which controls the largest bloc in the 40-strong parliament, told  journalists.

The 25 men in October were charged with forming an illegal organisation, engaging in and financing terrorism and spreading false and misleading information.

The two tried in absentia were Freedom Islamic Movement secretary general Said Al Shihabi and Mashaima, the leader of the opposition Haq movement who was expected to return to Manama on Tuesday but did not.

Shihabi lives in London as does Mashaima, who was in Britain on a trip for medical treatment when the charges were brought against the group.

The release follows a pardon announced by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in response to various demands by protesters.

Bahraini authorities have called for national dialogue to find a way out of the deadlock.