A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences ranging from two to fifteen years to 21 anti-Manama protesters as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the kingdom.
On Thursday, Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal, presided by Judge Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifah, found the defendants guilty of attempts to kill two policemen by setting fire to the patrol car they had been riding, and the destruction of a truck belonging to a food company, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news
The ruled that three defendants must be sentenced to 10 years in prison instead of 15, while the fourth was given a 15-year jail term.
Sixteen others have to serve two years in jail instead of three, while the last one received a three-year prison sentence.
The Manama regime has stepped up crackdown on political dissent in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah during a summit in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh last month.
This image provided by an activist, who requested anonymity, shows Bahraini security forces during a raid on a sit-in demonstration in the northwestern village of Diraz, Bahrain, on May 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Less than 48 hours after the US president left Saudi Arabia, Bahraini regime troops attacked supporters of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim in the northwestern village of Diraz, killing at least five people and arresting 286 others. Reports said 19 policemen were also injured in the clashes.
The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said Trump “effectively gave Hamad a blank check to continue the repression of his people.”
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 dynasty 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, 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.
King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3.