Bahraini court sentences four nationals to death over terror charges

A Bahraini court has sentenced four of its nationals to death for their alleged roles in a deadly bombing last year 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.

The High Criminal Court issued the rulings against the suspects on Monday after they were convicted of allegedly carrying out bomb attack in June 18, 2017 that claimed the life of a police officer and wounded two others in Diraz village in the Persian Gulf island country, said an official statement on Bahrain’s state news agency, BNA.

“The suspects were charged with murder, illegal possession, handling and use of weapons and explosive device that claimed a human life and damaged public and private properties,” further said the statement, citing Terror Crime Chief Prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi.

The court also ordered the suspects to collectively pay BD 1,000 fine in compensation for the damages purportedly caused by the blast as it stripped them of their Bahraini citizenship, it added.

Diraz, a flashpoint village outside the capital Manama, has particularly been the scene of frequent protests against the Al Khalifah regime. It is home to Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the highest religious authority in the country and the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which has been dissolved by the regime.

The top cleric, who has been an outspoken critic of the Manama regime’s policies for years, was stripped of citizenship in 2016 and is currently under house arrest, after a regime court convicted him for allegedly collecting illegal funds and money laundering.

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.

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