News   /   Persian Gulf

Bahrainis rap upholding of death verdicts for 7 activists

Bahraini protesters march through a street during an anti-regime demonstration in Abu Sabih Village, Bahrain, on April 25, 2018.

People in Bahrain have rallied to condemn the upholding of death sentences handed down to seven pro-democracy activists.

On Wednesday evening, scores of Bahrainis marched through the streets and shouted slogans against the Al Khalifah regime in Bilad al-Qadim Town, near the capital, Manama, and elsewhere throughout the country.

Rallies were also held, among other places, in the villages of al-Akar, al-Ma’ameer, al-Sehla, al-Diah, al-Malikiyah, Abu Sabih, Shahrakan, and al-Mahmale.

The rallies came hours after the Bahrain’s Military Court of Cassation approved capital punishment for seven nationals, who it claimed had been found guilty of attempting to assassinate Bahraini Military Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifah.

Since April last year, the Bahraini regime has been trying political dissidents in military courts, effectively blocking any view of the proceedings.

During the Wednesday rallies, the demonstrators, carrying placards, called Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah a “criminal.” Protesters in Bilad al-Qadim, al-Akar, and al- Ma’ameer also set fire to tires during the rallies.

Reports said that Bahraini riot police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the demonstrators. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and arrests.

Also on Wednesday, the Bahrain Opposition Bloc in London (BOBL) strongly condemned the rulings, stating that the verdicts against a group of civilians exposed the absence of an independent judiciary in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain’s al-Wefaq movement, which was a political party before it was dissolved, also called on the international community to halt “politically-motivated executions” in the country.

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 have been demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty 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 also deployed to assist Bahrain in the crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested in the regime 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 the imposition of an martial law countrywide. The Bahraini king ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year, nevertheless.

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