Bahrain's top court upholds life sentences against two anti-regime activists

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows the entrance to the building of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama.

Bahrain's Supreme Court of Appeals has upheld life sentences against two political dissidents as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

The court upheld the life sentences against the two on Thursday after finding them guilty of “shooting police, training on the use of munitions and manufacturing explosives in Iraq.” They were also ordered to pay a fine of 500 dinars ($1,326) each. The same charges were leveled against a third suspect.

Bahraini judicial officials claimed that the first and third defendants had received training in Iraqi camps back in 2017, in coordination with a fourth suspect.

The first and second defendants acquired munitions and explosive materials in Bahrain, and provided other people with them, the officials said.

According to authorities, the first and second defendants were tasked by the fourth suspect, who lives outside Bahrain, with attacking police in Manama. The authorities claimed that the pair had opened fire at regime forces on June 19, 2017.

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 monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

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