A court in Bahrain has sentenced eight anti-regime protesters to life imprisonment and handed down prison sentences to several others 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.
On Wednesday, the First High Criminal Court sentenced five defendants to life in prison after finding them guilty of “possessing weapons, explosives as well as mock bombs, and helping some criminals to flee from justice …,” Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.
The report added that they were also ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 dinars (over $265,000) each.
Separately, seven other anti-regime protesters received 10-year prison sentence, and were ordered to pay a fine of 100,000 dinars by the same court.
It also sentenced a dissident to 15 years in prison, and handed down five-year jail terms to four others. Five defendants received four-year prison sentences as well.
Moreover, the court slapped a three-year prison sentence against a defendant, and sentenced another nine to one year in jail.
Bahrain Mirror noted that all the defendants were accused of affiliation to the February 14 Youth Coalition — an opposition protest movement named after the date of the beginning of a popular uprising against the Manama regime – and the opposition al-Wafa Islamic Movement.
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.
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, 2017.
Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses: