Wednesday Jun 15, 201106:51 AM GMT
Iraq Cleric urges release of Bahrainis
Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:52AM
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Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
Iraq's influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Bahrain to release two anti-government protesters that have been sentenced to death over allegations of killing of Bahraini policemen.


"I ask the government of Bahrain to grant an amnesty for the two young people sentenced to death for participating in peaceful demonstrations," AFP quoted al-Sadr on Tuesday.

On May 22, a military court upheld the death sentences for Ali Abdullah Hasan al-Singace and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ibrahim Hussein, two anti-government protesters, for their purported involvement in the killing of two police officers during peaceful anti-regime protests in the tiny Persian Gulf sheikhdom

"These things put distance between the government and the people," Sadr said, adding, "The government must get closer to the people, and work for their interests."

Meanwhile, Bahrainis staged rallies in the villages of Karrana and some other towns and villages across the country to pledge support for the detainees.

Bahrain's repression of protests has provoked an international outcry.

Thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging demonstrations in Bahrain since February, demanding the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

On March 14, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed troops to the kingdom to help Bahraini forces to suppress the nationwide protests.

Scores of people have been killed and many more arrested in the Saudi-backed crackdown on protests in Bahrain -- a longtime ally of the US and home to a huge military base of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

VM/GHN/MB
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