Bahrain’s supreme court of appeal has upheld a five-year prison sentence for an imprisoned female anti-regime activist as the ruling Al Khalifah regime continues its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
On Monday, the Court of Cassation also stripped the defendant, identified as Zakia al-Barbouri, of her citizenship after finding her guilty of terrorism-related charges, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.
On February 6, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced Barbouri to five years in prison, and ordered her citizenship to be revoked.
Bahraini authorities claimed at the time that the dissident was “transporting materials used in explosive devices” to an alleged cell trained in Iraq.
The officials leveled terror charges against the defendant based on her confessions. Confessions, however, were extracted under duress and torture, according to international human rights groups.
Masked pro-regime militiamen, accompanied by members of the security service, arrested Barbouri early on May 17, 2018 after they raided her home in the village of Nuwaidrat.
She was held incommunicado at a detention facility for weeks following her arrest.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.