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Bahrain

Bahraini court gives jail terms to five for attacks on police

A court in Bahrain has sentenced five people to up to 15 years in jail over their alleged role in an attack on police forces in the Persian Gulf Arab kingdom.

Ahmed al-Hammadi, a Bahraini prosecutor, said in a statement on Monday that the high criminal court sentenced three people to 15 years each after convicting them of setting a police vehicle on fire.

The defendants were also collectively fined more than 17,000 dinars (USD 45,000), Hammadi added.

No casualties were reported in the attack that took place in August last year.

In another case, the court also jailed two defendants, one for three years and the other for 10, after convicting them of rioting and throwing rocks at police. The attack which took place last April wounded two policemen.

Last week, Bahraini authorities gave a one-year prison sentence to activist Ibrahim Sharif, the head of the country’s largest leftist political party. He was accused of inciting hatred against the ruling Al Khalifah regime.

The Bahraini judiciary has come under fire by many human rights groups for handing down long jail terms to anti-regime protesters and activists in the country.

Among those arrested are opposition figure Sheikh Ali Salman, secretary general of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, and prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have also censured the Bahraini regime over the “rampant” human rights abuses against opposition activists and pro-democracy protesters.

The tiny Persian Gulf kingdom has been the scene of protests by pro-democracy demonstrators in recent years.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power. Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in an ongoing regime crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

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