Bahrain

Bahraini court jails 13 Shia pro-democracy activists

BAHRAIN7A court in Bahrain has sentenced 13 people to prison for allegedly trying to kill policemen in a village near the capital Manama as the Al Khalifa regime steps up its crackdown on dissent.

On Sunday, the court sentenced 12 of these Bahrainis to 10 years in jail each. Another person was also given a three- year prison term.

These Bahrainis had taken part in an anti-regime demonstrations.

Separately, another court in Manama cleared a police officer of attempting to murder an anti-regime protester last year because of what was called insufficient proof.

According to Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq, the Manama regime’s harsh clampdown on pro-democracy activists has intensified over the past months.

In October, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “The [Bahraini] authorities simply slap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a ‘confession’.”

Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, calling for political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

Scores have been killed, many of them under torture while in custody, and thousands more detained since the popular uprising started in the kingdom.

Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Protesters say they will continue to hold anti-regime demonstrations until their demands for the establishment of a democratically-elected government and an end to rights violations are met.

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