A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to nine anti-regime Shia protesters, including a teenager, as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the kingdom.
Bahrain’s Supreme Criminal Court sentenced eight defendants to seven years in prison after convicting them of attacking a police patrol with Molotov cocktails in the town of A’ali, situated about three kilometers southeast of the capital Manama.
A judicial source and activists said the ninth was a minor, who received a three-year jail term.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy later named the teenager as 19-year-old Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, adding that he is the brother-in-law of London-based Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who is the head of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD).
Sayed Ahmed said lawyers had confirmed to him that his young relative, who is already serving a three-year prison sentence on the charge of planting a fake bomb, was among those convicted.
The UK-based Bahraini activist’s mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, 49, was hospitalized with hypoglycemia on March 22 three days after starting a hunger strike to protest the treatment of inmates at the notorious Isa Town Prison.
Hassan and Medina Ali reportedly ended their hunger strike on Saturday, calling for a halt to ‘humiliating and discriminatory treatment’ at the detention center.
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 regime 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, 2017, 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.
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.