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Bahrain sentences nine activists to life in prison

Al-Akhbar | October 7, 2013

A Bahraini court jailed nine activists for life Monday after alleging that they made bombs for “terrorist” purposes, a judicial source said.

Four of the defendants were in court for the verdict and the remaining five, tried in absentia, were handed an 10 additional years in jail for failing to hand themselves in. Life imprisonment in Bahrain is a 25-year-sentence.

Human rights groups have slammed the Bahraini dictatorship’s persecution of activists and political opponents since a pro-democracy movement swept the tiny Gulf kingdom two and a half years ago.

The courts, whose judges are appointed by the Bahraini king, have jailed hundreds of peace activists and human rights leaders on terrorism-related charges in recent months.

Monday’s ruling brings to 104 the number of activists jailed since September 29 over terrorism-related charges in the western and Saudi-backed Gulf kingdom.

The four men told the court that they were tortured, mistreated and held in solitary confinement – a routine procedure in country to force confessions, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).

The defendants were found guilty of “joining a group with the intention of disturbing public order and using terrorism to endanger Bahrain’s security,” the charge sheet said.

They were also convicted of making bombs and training others how to produce them, and “owning and using explosives for a terrorist purpose and carrying out bombings to terrorize citizens.”

BCHR says at least 89 people have been killed by Bahraini police and a Saudi-led Gulf force since the a popular, anti-government uprising erupted in February 2011.

Bahrain is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet and Washington is a long-standing ally of the Al-Khalifa ruling family.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

October 7, 2013 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , ,

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