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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Michael Jackson 'in Bahrain trip'
Michael Jackson
Jackson thanked fans but has not been seen in public since his trial
Michael Jackson is beginning a holiday in Bahrain to "relax" after his child abuse trial, an official in the Gulf state has said.

The singer flew in on a private jet, the official told news agencies on condition of anonymity.

"He is here in Bahrain on a friendly visit to relax and enjoy the hospitality," he said.

It is Jackson's first trip outside the US since he was cleared of child abuse in a California trial two weeks ago.

"He is a long time friend of the (royal) family," the official added.

The 46-year-old singer has a large fan base in Bahrain and other Gulf countries.

Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine with Bahrain's Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine has links to Bahrain's royal family
His brother Jermaine has ties to the country's royal family after he and the king's son Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa announced plans in January to release a charity song.

On Monday, Michael Jackson thanked fans in his first public statement since his trial.

"Without God, my children, my family and you, my fans, I could not have made it through," he said.

"Your love, support and loyalty made it all possible."

But he has not been seen in public since he left the Santa Maria courtroom after being acquitted of all 10 charges at the end of a 14-week trial.

He suffered health problems during the trial and appeared increasingly frail.


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