Bahrain court upholds death sentences for Shia activists

Bahrain court upholds death sentences for Shia activists
Bahrain's supreme court has upheld death sentences and prison terms for Shia activists convicted of terror-related charges.
2 min read
Authorities have cracked down hard on dissent since mass street protests in 2011 [AFP]
Bahrain's supreme court on Monday upheld death sentences for two Shia activists and jail terms for dozens of others on terror-related charges and links to Iran, state media reported.

The court, whose rulings are final, also stripped 47 of the defendants of their Bahraini citizenship, said the BNA news agency, citing an official statement.

The court upheld life terms for 19 convicts and sentenced 37 others to between five and 15 years in jail, the statement said.

The men were charged of forming a "terror cell" that carried out a number of attacks, killing at least two policemen and wounding several others.

They were also convicted of smuggling weapons by boat, attacking a prison and helping a number of inmates flee, and undergoing military training in Iraq and Iran.

Thirty-six of those convicted, including the two sentenced to death, are being held in jail while the rest were sentenced in absentia.

In a separate case, the Gulf state's top court upheld lengthy jail terms against 19 Shias on charges of spying for Iran and plotting to overthrow the regime, BNA reported.

The court confirmed life terms for eight of those convicted, 15-year jail terms for nine and 10-year terms for two others, with the citizenship of 15 of them revoked.

The group was convicted of leaking information to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah and of receiving "material support" from the two forces.

Authorities have cracked down hard on dissent since mass street protests in 2011 that demanded an elected prime minister and a constitutional monarchy in Sunni-ruled Bahrain.

They have stripped hundreds of those convicted of their citizenship, leaving many stateless.

In recent high-profile trials, Bahrain's prominent rights defender Nabeel Rajab in December lost his final appeal against a five-year jail term for writing tweets deemed offensive to the state.

In January, Bahrain's supreme court upheld a life term against Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the main Shia opposition group Al-Wefaq, for allegedly spying for rival Qatar.