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

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.