Bahrainis once again have held anti-regime protests in several parts of the country in solidarity with political prisoners. Chanting slogans against the Al Khalifa regime, the protesters on Thursday took to the streets of the capital, Manama, and several villages across the country.
The protesters described the sentences against the jailed activists as unjust, urging the Al Khalifa regime to release all the detainees. The demonstration in the village of Karanaeh turned violent after the regime forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
More than three years after the start of the popular uprising in Bahrain, the home base for the US military’s Fifth Fleet, the regime’s crackdown on dissent still continues. On Sunday, a Bahraini appeals court upheld an earlier ruling that handed five-year imprisonment sentences to nine Shia activists.
Attorneys for the Shia activists, however, insist that the defendants are innocent and were forced to confess to the allegations. The Saudi-backed Manama regime has detained hundreds of anti-government activists as part of its brutal crackdown on popular dissent. Many of those arrested have been handed down lengthy jail terms for alleged involvement in anti-government protests.
Media rights group Reporters without Borders (RSF) had slammed their sentences in April, denouncing officials of the Persian Gulf kingdom for “cracking down on freedom of information” by arresting journalists and activists and carrying out “sham trials.” Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured in the Manama regime’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful anti-regime rallies.