Bahrain court upholds death sentences for two Shiites

AFP , Sunday 22 May 2011

A special Bahrain court upheld on Sunday death sentences for two Shiites convicted of killing two policemen during unrest that hit the Sunni-ruled kingdom

"The National Safety Appeals Court upheld the death sentence Sunday against Ali Abdullah Hasan al-Singace and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ibrahim Hussein," the official BNA news agency said.

The decision came despite international calls for sparing the detainees.

The same court reduced the sentences of two others -- Qasim Hassan Mattar Ahmed and Saeed Abdul Jalil Saeed -- both sentenced to death on April 28 in the same case, to life in prison, added BNA.

The state-run news agency also upheld the life sentence handed down to another detainee but did not clarify the fate of two others who had been handed similar sentences.

The seven Shiites are accused of running over two policemen -- Kashif Ahmed Manzur and Mohammed Farouk Abdulsamad, during pro-reform protests earlier this year.

Their trial began on April 17, with BNA reporting at the time that the defendants were accused of committing voluntary homicide of public officials with "terrorist" intentions.
Witnesses addressed the tribunal, and a video allegedly showing the attackers in cars hitting police, was played, according to the agency.

The national safety court of first instance had issued its verdict on April 28 drawing international condemnation as rights watchdog Amnesty International urged Bahrain to halt the executions.

The court was set up under the state of national safety, a lower level of emergency law declared by King Hamad in mid-March, a day before an all-out crackdown on a month-long, Shiite-dominated protest demanding political reforms.

Last month, authorities said that 405 detainees have been referred to national safety courts, of whom 312 were later released.

According to authorities, four police were killed in March after being struck by cars during the protests in the kingdom.

Last week, nine policemen were wounded, four of them seriously, when a car hit them as they were dispersing a protest in a Bahraini Shiite village, BNA said.
Bahraini authorities have said 24 people were killed during the month-long unrest, most of them demonstrators.

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