[QODLink]
Middle East
Bahrain sentences protesters to death
Military court sentences four men to death over killing of police during unrest, state media says.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2011 11:37
Those sentenced to death include Saeed Abdul Jalil Saeed (1) and Qassim Hasan Mattar Ahmed (5)  [AL WEFAQ PARTY]

A Bahraini military court has sentenced four Shia protesters to death and three to life jail terms for the killing of two policemen during demonstrations last month, state media has reported.

Thursday's verdicts are the first related to the uprising against the Gulf kingdom's ruling family, which begain in February.

The seven defendants were tried behind closed doors on charges of premeditated murder of government employees, which their lawyers have denied.

A Shia opposition official named those sentenced to death as Ali Abdullah Hasan, Qasim Hassan Mattar, Saeed Abdul Jalil Saeed, and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ibrahim.

He told the AFP news agency that Issa Abdullah Kazem, Sadiq Ali Mahdi, and Hussein Jaafar Abdul Karim were
sentenced to life in prison.

Sheikh Ali Salman,  president of Bahrain's Al Wefaq, the largest Shia political group in the country, told Al Jazeera that the punishments did not fit the crime.

"I believe that these sentences should be revised and the international community must intervene to stop this," he said.

He added that the proceedings were "unprecedented" and that question marks remain over the conditions the detainees are living in.

Government officials have said that a total of four policemen were killed during the unrest that gripped the country in February and March, at least three of whom were run over by cars around March 16.

Hundreds of thousands of Bahrain's Shia-led opposition have called for greater rights and freedoms in the Sunni monarchy.

Authorities have detained hundreds since martial law was declared last month to quell dissent.

On Wednesday, a Bahraini official said 405 detainees had been referred to military courts while 312 have been released.

"Sixty-two criminal cases and 343 misdemeanor cases have been referred to the courts of national safety," , Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the head of the Information Affairs Authority, said.

He said 312 detainees have been released, "some for health reasons," and others after considering the period of their detention enough.

Bahraini authorities have come under strong criticism from international rights organisations over a heavyhanded crackdown on protesters.

Earlier this week the US raised concern over the fate of detainees, noting that some have died in custody.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.