Amnesty slams Bahrain Shia activists imprisonment

bahrain51Amnesty International (AI) has condemned the imprisonment of Shia activists in Bahrain, describing the move as “appalling”.

“It’s appalling what passes for ‘justice’ today in Bahrain,” said Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, on Monday, adding, “The authorities simply slap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants, and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a ‘confession’.”

The condemnation came after a Bahraini court, on Sunday, handed 50 Shias, including a prominent Iraqi cleric, prison terms of up to 15 years for allegedly forming an opposition group known as the “February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition” in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

“The allegations that confessions were extracted under torture must be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and independently, with those responsible brought to justice,” said Luther.

The court sentenced 16 defendants to 15 years in jail, four others to ten years, and the other 30 to five years.

Bahraini authorities accuse the anti-regime group of involvement in ‘terrorism.’

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa regime to relinquish power.

Manama’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of anti-regime protests that erupted across the Arab country in early 2011.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since March 2011.

Physicians for Human Rights say 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-regime protesters.

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