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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Bahrain 11-year-old to hear verdict on 5 July: Lawyer

Court to issue verdict in trial of 11-year-old Shia boy charged with disturbing security, despite international outcry

AFP , Wednesday 20 Jun 2012
High school students gesture, during a protest to demand the resignation of the education minister, south of Manama 2 March, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)

A Bahraini court will issue its verdict on July 5 in the trial of an 11-year-old Shia boy charged with disturbing security, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

"The verdict will be issued on 5 July," his lawyer said after a hearing of the juvenile court in Manama.

The announcement comes two days after human rights watchdog Amnesty International urged Bahrain's courts to drop all charges against the child.

The boy, Ali Hasan, was arrested on 14 May and later charged with "taking part in a public assembly aimed at disturbing security." He was released on bail on 11 June.

Nura Al-Khalifa, the chief prosecutor for juveniles, said Hasan had been arrested for blocking a street outside the capital Manama with garbage containers and wood planks.

Khalifa said that Hasan had pleaded guilty, admitting he blocked the road repeatedly, and that he was arrested on his third attempt to shut the road.

In a statement on Monday, Amnesty called for the charges to be dropped.

Citing the boy's lawyer, the watchdog said Hassan was "playing with two other young boys... when police officers stopped the children, threatening to shoot them if they did not do as they were told."

Amnesty said Hasan was moved "between several police stations for a period of about four hours and interrogated... that during that time he was alone, he became hungry and tired and eventually confessed to accusations against him."

He later denied the allegations and said he "confessed because police promised to release him if he did," it added.

Tensions remain high in Bahrain where a month-long Shia-led uprising was crushed in March 2011. Demonstrations have intensified in recent months as protesters sporadically clash with the police.

Amnesty says 60 people have been killed since the protests first erupted in February last year.

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