Bahrain court upholds jail terms for 13 Shias

AFP , Monday 27 Jan 2014

Mourners carrying Bahraini flags and black religious flags chant anti-government slogans as they march during the funeral of 19-year-old Fadhil Abbas Muslim, in Bani Jamra, Bahrain, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 (Photo: AP)

A Bahraini court upheld on Monday jail sentences of 10-15 years for Shias convicted of launching two separate attacks on police in the Gulf kingdom, a judicial source said.

In the first case, the court of cassation confirmed 15-year prison sentences against each of 10 defendants convicted of attempting to murder four policemen, the source said.

They targeted the policemen in April 2012 in the Shias village of Akr, near the capital Manama, according to the charges.

A lawyer said the verdict ignored accusations by the defendants that they had been tortured into giving confessions.

In the other case, the court upheld 10-year jail terms against each of three Shias convicted of attempting to murder policemen in the village of Karzakan in February last year.

The defendants were accused of opening fire on policemen who were dispersing demonstrators in the village.

A month-long protest that erupted on February 14, 2011, challenged the regime of the Shias-majority kingdom that is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

The demonstrations were broken up in mid-March in a deadly crackdown helped by security forces from neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

At least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since the protests began, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

Demonstrators frequently clash with security forces in Shiite villages outside the capital.

Bomb attacks have included one that targeted a Sunni mosque close to the royal court last July. It caused no casualties.

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