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Bahrain opposition figure tells court there's no place for violence in drive for reforms

  • Riot police look for Bahraini anti-government protesters during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said Ali al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. Graffiti on the wall includes, "steadfast, resistance, unity" and a religious verse about fighting injustice. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

    Riot police look for Bahraini anti-government protesters during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said Ali al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. Graffiti on the wall includes, "steadfast, resistance, unity" and a religious verse about fighting injustice. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Bahraini anti-government protester reacts to tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

    A Bahraini anti-government protester reacts to tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Bahraini anti-government protester reacts to tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said Ali al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

    A Bahraini anti-government protester reacts to tear gas fired by riot police during clashes after the funeral for a 17-year-old boy in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Authorities said Ali al-Sabagh was killed when an explosive device he was carrying detonated prematurely as he attempted to stage an attack in the tense Gulf nation. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)  (The Associated Press)

A prominent opposition figure in Bahrain has told a court hearing that he rejects violence and denies charges that he encouraged anti-government attacks in the troubled Gulf nation.

The arrest of Khalil al-Marzooq has prompted Bahrain's Shiite-led opposition to suspend political talks with the Sunni monarchy and its allies.

Bahrain has been gripped by nonstop unrest after the kingdom's Shiite majority began an uprising in early 2011 calling for a greater political voice. Many protesters and senior opposition figures have been jailed during crackdowns.

Al-Marzooq, a top member of the main Shiite political bloc Al Wefaq, told the three-judge panel on Thursday that he supports efforts to force political concessions from Bahrain's rulers. But he denied any support for bombings and other attacks.

Al-Marzooq is charged with encouraging violence.