A Bahraini court has sentenced eight people to life in jail after convicting them of "terrorism" and violence against security forces in two separate cases.

The official Bahrain News Agency on Thursday said the court sentenced three to life in prison for detonating a blast that wounded a policeman and damaged two police vehicles in January 2015.

The same court sentenced five people to life in prison for smuggling and possessing explosives for terrorism purposes in a separate case.

Bahrain, which bans protests and gatherings not licensed by the government, put down a 2011 Shia opposition uprising, but sporadic protests and small-scale clashes persist.

The government says the protesters are supported and influenced by Iran but activists say they are fighting for political freedoms.

The Bahraini government cut ties with Iran in January following a similar move by its neighbour Saudi Arabia over alleged Iranian influence on their domestic politics.

UpFront - Bahrain: Five years after the protests

Source: AP