A court in Bahrain has sentenced three anti-regime protesters to life imprisonment and handed down jail terms to nine others as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
On Monday, Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal found the defendants guilty over “setting off an explosion that would have endangered the life and property of people, and unlawful possession of explosive materials for terrorist purposes,” Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.
The court upheld life sentences against three defendants over their alleged involvement in a bomb explosion and attempted murder of a police officer in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated some 12 kilometers west of the capital Manama, back in 2014. The three dissidents were handed another five-year prison sentence as well.
It also sentenced six others to three years in jail instead of five, reduced the life sentence of a defendant to 15 years in prison.
The Supreme Court of Appeal further ruled that the cases of two other defendents could not be considered, sentencing the first one to 15 years in jail while the latter received 3 years.
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 dynasty 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 monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.