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Bahraini court gives prison sentences to four anti-regime activists

This file picture shows the entrance to the building of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama.

A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to four anti-regime protesters as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the kingdom.

On Tuesday, Bahrain's Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced three of the defendants to five years in jail, while the fourth received three years in prison, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported. 

The court found the anti-regime activists guilty of “damaging public property, spreading terror in the hearts of citizens, creating chaos and deliberately setting fire to a number of containers” through a gas cylinder explosion in Sitra Island, located five kilometers south of the capital Manama.

On March 27, Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court sentenced eight defendants to seven years in prison after convicting them of attacking a police patrol with Molotov cocktails in the town of A'ali, situated about three kilometers southeast of the capital Manama.

A judicial source and activists said the ninth was a minor, who received a three-year jail term.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy later named the teenager as 19-year-old Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, adding that he is the brother-in-law of London-based Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who is the head of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD).

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.

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