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Bahrain sentences Shia protester to death, jails 8

AFP , Wednesday 19 Feb 2014
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A Bahrain court Wednesday sentenced a Shia protester to death and jailed six others for life after they were convicted of killing a policeman a year ago, a judicial source said.

Two others were sentenced to five and six years in prison respectively on similar charges.

The officer, Mohamed Atef, died on February 14, 2013, after he was hit by a petrol bomb during clashes with protesters in a village near the capital.

In addition to killing the policeman, the nine defendants were also convicted of taking part in an "unlicensed protest".

Death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment -- 25 years -- in the Gulf kingdom.

Scores of Shia Muslims have been tried over unrest in Sunni-ruled Bahrain that erupted during Arab Spring-inspired protests in mid-February 2011.

Last year the authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life terms in cases which resulted in deaths or injuries.

A policeman was killed in similar circumstances on February 14 this year during protests marking the third anniversary of the uprising.

And on Sunday, a Bahrain court handed down 15-year jail terms to two people convicted of trying to kill police officers.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed since the uprising began three years ago. 

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