June 30, 2005

Michael Jackson arrives in Bahrain to ‘relax’

MANAMA (Reuters) - Michael Jackson, acquitted this month ofchild sex abuse charges, turned up in the Gulf Arab country ofBahrain on a private visit to "relax," a Bahraini official saidon Thursday.

"He (Jackson) is here in Bahrain on a friendly visit, torelax and enjoy the hospitality of Bahrain. He is a long timefriend of the (royal) family," the official, who requestedanonymity, told Reuters.

Jackson was flown to Bahrain on Wednesday on a private jetfrom Los Angeles and will stay for a few days at an undisclosedresidence, the official said.

The 46-year-old pop star has a large fan base in Bahrainand other Gulf countries.

A U.S. court acquitted Jackson of child sex abuse chargesthis month, in a trial that had threatened to destroy hiscareer and send him to prison for nearly two decades.