2 Bahrain police acquitted of killing protester: lawyer

AFP , Tuesday 26 Feb 2013

Bahrain's Higher Criminal Court acquits two policemen charged with shooting Shiite protester two years ago from wounds sustained during police crackdown in central Manama

A Bahraini court on Tuesday acquitted two policemen who were charged with shooting dead a Shiite protester two years ago, lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi wrote on his Twitter account.

The Higher Criminal Court said that "as interior ministry employees, the two policemen fired shotguns at the victim Fadhel Matruk without intending to kill him," wrote Jishi, who represented the protester's family in the case.

Matruk died on 15 February, 2011, from wounds sustained during a police crackdown on protesters who remained camped in central Manama for one month before authorities completely razed their camp in March of that year.

On Sunday, an appeals court confirmed a December ruling in which two other police officers were acquitted after being charged with killing protesters Ali al-Moumin and Issa Abdel Hasan during the same period.

On 31 January, a Bahraini court sentenced a policeman to seven years in jail for torturing to death a protester during the then month-long protests in Manama against the rule of the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

A number of policemen are being investigated or are on trial for allegedly torturing detainees after hundreds of Shiites were rounded up when security forces crushed the protests in mid-March 2011.

The authorities say they are implementing the recommendations of an independent commission of inquiry appointed by the king that confirmed allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during the unrest.

Home to the US Fifth Fleet and strategically situated across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain has continued to witness sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, now mostly outside the capital.

The International Federation for Human Rights says around 80 people have been killed in Bahrain since the violence first broke out on February 14, 2011.

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