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Bahraini court jails three dissidents, strips them of citizenship

A Bahrain court has sentenced three political dissidents to jail and revoked their nationality as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on the majority community in the Persian Gulf kingdom. 

The head of the Public Prosecution in Bahrain Issa al-Ruwayi said the Fourth High Criminal Court found the defendants guilty of “joining a terrorist group, possession of explosives and weapons without a license and training in the use of munitions.”

The court sentenced one of the convicts to life imprisonment, while two others were given three-year jail terms over alleged involvement in the bombing of an oil pipeline in the village of Buri. They were also stripped of their nationality.

The development came only a day after Bahraini courts revoked the citizenship of five people.

Two of the defendants were convicted on terrorism charges, and also slapped with lengthy prison terms.

Three others were found guilty of membership in the opposition February 14 Youth Coalition, and stripped of their citizenship.

The Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, a rights campaigning group based in Britain, stated on Tuesday that the ruling Al Khalifah regime has stripped 738 Bahraini nationals of their citizenship since 2012.

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.

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