A court in Bahrain has sentenced eight anti-regime protesters to life imprisonment and handed down prison sentences to several others as the ruling Al Khalifah regime continues its clampdown on political opponents and pro-democracy activists in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
On Sunday, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court found eight defendants guilty of forming an anti-regime cell, alleging that they were affiliated to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Iran has repeatedly denied supporting any bid to overthrow the Bahraini government.
The same court also sentenced two others to 15 years in prison each. Two dissidents each received a ten-year prison sentence.
Five-year prison terms were slapped against another five defendants, and a one-year prison sentence was passed on the last defendant.
Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals on March 5, 2017. The move drew widespread condemnation from human rights bodies and activists, and was described as imposition of an undeclared martial law across the country.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah rubber-stamped the constitutional amendment on April 3 that year.
The Persian Gulf kingdom has seen anti-regime protests over the past nine years. The major demand has been the ouster of the Al Khalifah regime and the establishment of a just and conclusive system representing all Bahraini nationals. The Manama regime has ignored the calls.