Lengthy jail terms for Bahrain protesters

Thirty-six people given prison sentences of between 15 and 25 years for taking part in anti-government rallies.

    Rallies erupted in February with protesters demanding political reform and greater political freedoms [Reuters]

    Thirty-six people in Bahrain have been given prison sentences of between 15 and 25 years in three separate cases for taking part in anti-government protests earlier this year.

    Matar Matar, a former opposition legislator with the Shia party al-Wefaq, told Al Jazeera that 14 of the convicted had been sentenced to life, meaning they face 25 years in prison.

    Prosecutor Yusof Fleifel, quoted by BNA state news agency, said the 14 were convicted of beating to death a Pakistani "with a terrorist aim", as well as "assembling for riots".

    Another 15 were sentenced to 15 years in jail after being found guilty of attempting to murder military personnel, in addition to taking part in protests and vandalism at Bahrain University in Manama, BNA said.

    The third case involved seven university students, six of whom were jailed 15 years, while another was sentenced to 18 years, over charges including attempted murder targeting several people at the university.

    The three groups were sentenced by the National Safety Court, a special security court set up following a mid-March clampdown on the Shia-led protests.

    Medics sentenced

    Last week, doctors and nurses accused of aiding demonstrators were also given prison terms. They have vowed to appeal their sentences later this month.

     

    "A session has been set for October 23 to look into the appeals," chief prosecutor Abdulrahman al-Sayyed said in a statement carried by the official BNA news agency.

     

    The National Safety Court had sentenced 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics to jail terms of between five to 15 years.

    "The judgement in these cases is not final ... all the defendants can appeal the court's judgement," Sayyed said.

    Since the March crackdown, several groups of defendants - doctors, activists, and opposition figures alike - have been tried in the quasi-military court.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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