Bahraini court jails nearly 170 people in crackdown on dissent
A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to 167 anti-regime protesters as the ruling Ale Khalifah regime does not shy away from its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
According to Press TV, the High Criminal Court sentenced 56 of the defendants to ten years in jail each after finding them guilty of “attacks on police officers.” The remaining majority of defendants received one-year terms. The court acquitted four people in the case.
Court documents obtained by Reuters showed that the sentences had been handed to the defendants at a trial on February 27.
The defendants had been detained for six months before being released on bail in late 2017.
“None of the defendants came to the court when the sentences were announced because they feared being arrested,” said one lawyer, who declined to be named.
Two lawyers involved in the case said they had filed an appeal.
The defendants had been arrested at a 2017 sit-in in support of distinguished Shia Cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who had been stripped of his citizenship by the Manama regime, outside his home in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated some 12 kilometers west of the capital.
Bahraini regime forces murdered five protesters and arrested hundreds more in a raid on the sit-in.
London-based rights group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said the majority of those arrested have been subjected to “the most atrocious torture.”
“This is a massively unfair trial which has passed completely unnoticed ... this trial is a textbook example of the culture of impunity that prevails in Bahrain,” Director of Advocacy at BIRD, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said.