Bahrain hands heavy jail terms to Shia protesters

The lead defendant was sentenced to 13 years, while his 12 co-accused were sentenced to 10 years.

Afp June 10, 2014
Smoke from tear gas grenades cover Bahraini Shia Muslim youths standing at a makeshift barricade. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

DUBAI: A Bahraini court handed down jail sentences of up to 13 years Tuesday against 13 defendants convicted of attacking police during an anti-government demonstration in 2012, a judicial official said.

The trial was the latest in a string of prosecutions for protests among the Gulf state's Shia Muslim majority that prompted Human Rights Watch to warn last month that the Sunni ruling family was using the courts as a tool to maintain a "highly repressive political order."

The defendants were detained after protesters clashed with riot police in the village of Sitra outside the capital Manama on August 6, 2012, the judicial official said.

The lead defendant was sentenced to 13 years, while his 12 co-accused were sentenced to 10 years.

They were found guilty of attempted murder of police officers, possession of Molotov cocktails and gathering on a public highway.

The 2012 demonstration was one of a spate of persistent protests in Shia villages that have continued despite a bloody 2011 crackdown on an Arab Spring-inspired movement for majority rule and a constitutional monarchy in the small but strategic archipelago.

In a report released on May 29, Human Rights Watch charged that the heavy jail terms handed down against scores of Shia protesters were part of "a highly functional injustice system" operated by the Bahraini authorities.

The New York-based watchdog accused Washington, whose Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, just across the Gulf from Iran, of not doing enough to raise human rights concerns with its ally.


ali | 8 years ago | Reply

They are nothing more than a bunch of thugs ,they have no love for democracy they just wanna bring the shitty irani khomeni religion over there . Thts 100 times worse than monarchy.

Hmm | 8 years ago | Reply

They torture minorities in their own countries , but sometimes they point fingers at others.

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