Bahrain sentences six more activists to life imprisonment

A court in Bahrain has handed down life sentences to six more activists over their alleged role in a 2014 bombing that hit the flashpoint village of Diraz, the second such verdict in a matter of two days.

A judicial source said on condition of anonymity on Thursday that the six, all Shia Muslims, were convicted of inciting anti-regime protests back in November 2014 with the aim of dragging the police towards a bomb in Diraz, situated outside the capital, Manama, AFP reported.

Two Bahraini police officers were injured as the homemade bomb exploded, the source added.

Diraz is the hometown of Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Issa Qassim, who was stripped of his nationality in 2016 on allegations of serving “foreign interests” and promoting “sectarianism and violence.”

The move sparked angry protests and sit-ins in Diraz. Bahraini regime forces launched a fierce crackdown on those gatherings, placed the Shia leader under house arrest and imposed a military siege on the village.

The latest ruling comes only a day after Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal sentenced 10 anti-regime protesters to life imprisonment and revoked their citizenship.

The 10 had been found guilty of establishing a “terror group” in the village of Nuwaidrat, south of Manama, as well as possession of weapons.

Since early 2011, the Persian Gulf kingdom has been the scene of a popular uprising against the ruling Al Khalifah regime.

The regime in Manama has responded to the anti-regime demonstrations with a heavy hand, jailing dozens of political dissidents and dissolving major opposition groups. Scores of people have also lost their lives in the Saudi-backed clampdown.

The UN and leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly urged Manama to end its repression of political dissent in the Shia-majority kingdom.


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