Bahrain has upheld death sentences against two activists as the ruling Al Khalifah regime intensifies its crackdown against political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
The defendants, Ahmad al-Abbar and Hussein Mahdi, were sentenced to death by the Bahrain Criminal Court after they made forced confessions, according to the Manama Post website. Their charges were not immediately known.
Another Bahraini court also sentenced nine citizens to jail and revoked their citizenship.
Separately, a court in the capital Manama on Sunday also sentenced 20 activists to prison sentences ranging from 3 to 15 years after they were convicted on “terrorism” charges.
This came days after a Bahrain court on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of 115 people at a mass terrorism trial.
The court ruling came as much of the Mideast was focusing on Israeli forces killing over dozens of Palestinian protesters as the US relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds the day before. Like much of the crackdown, it has quietly escaped attention.
The trials in Bahrain are often tainted with allegations of torture and coerced confessions. Hundreds have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
Activists say the number of those who have lost their citizenship in Bahrain since 2012 has risen to over 700.
Rights groups have accused Manama of employing its anti-terror legislation to jail and torture regime critics.
Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement on May 16 that “the Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process – and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.”
The right to a nationality is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Bahrain is a state party.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country on February 14, 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Manama has spared no effort in clamping down on dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.
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 monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.