BahrainHuman Rights

Bahrain court jails 18 anti-regime activists

328668_Bahrain anti-regime protestA court in Bahrain has sentenced 18 anti-regime activists to between five and seven years in prison, as the Al Khalifa regime steps up its crackdown on demonstrators.

The court issued the verdicts on Thursday after convicting the defendants of allegedly attacking a police station in a Shia village near the capital, Manama, last November.

Fifteen defendants were sentenced to seven years in jail each and three to five years.

The defendants had been charged with “aggression” against the kingdom’s police, “possession of petrol bombs,” and participating in an anti-regime demonstration “aimed at undermining public security.”

The verdict brought to 122 the number of pro-democracy demonstrators sentenced to lengthy jail terms since September 29. They were arrested for being involved in protests and seeking to overthrow the Manama regime.

According to an earlier report, Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq has said that the Manama regime’s harsh clampdown on pro-democracy activists has intensified over the past months.

It said Manama has employed a mix of brutal tactics such as torture and intimidation to crush anti-regime protesters.

Last week, Amnesty International slammed the verdicts and demanded a probe into reports that some of the activists had been tortured.

“The [Bahraini] authorities simply slap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a ‘confession’.” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said on Monday.

The uprising in Bahrain began in early 2011. Protesters initially called for political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.

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