Bahrain jails 13 over bid to burn police station

AFP , Wednesday 5 Oct 2011

Bahraini special court sentences Shia protesters to five years in jail after they were arrested with 'prepared molotov cocktails' during anti-regime protests

A Bahraini special court sentenced 13 Shias to five years in jail on Wednesday for trying to set ablaze a police station during democracy protests, the chief military prosecutor said.

The National Safety Court, set up by the Sunni-ruled kingdom after Shia-led protests were crushed in March, gave six other demonstrators one-year terms in the same case, Colonel Yusuf Fleifel said, quoted by BNA state news agency.

The group had been charged with attempting to burn down Al-Khamees police station close to Manama's Pearl Square, the focal point of anti-regime protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

The protesters had "prepared Molotov cocktails" and blocked the streets leading to the centre with blocks of concrete and garbage containers, but security forces managed to stop them from setting the station on fire, BNA said.

They were also accused of taking part in public gatherings "with intent to commit crimes and breach security," it added.

The condemned would be able to appeal the sentences at a civil court, the military prosecutor said, in line with a pledge by King Hamad.

The National Safety Court, which has a mixed military and civil panel, has in the past four days sentenced more than 100 people to jail for various convictions over the month-long protests.

The quasi-military court has sentenced to death at least five Shias for killing policemen, and many more are still being tried for other alleged offences, among them opposition leaders and medics.

Authorities said in May that 405 detainees had been referred to courts, while 312 were released.

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