Bahrain sentences 18 to prison for participating in "unauthorized protests"

A Bahraini woman stands in front of a graffiti depicting a man face during an anti-regime rally in solidarity with jailed political activists in the village of al-Malkiya, south of Manama, on October 3, 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

Published Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Bahraini court on Thursday sentenced 18 people to between five and seven years in prison after they were convicted of attacking a police station, a judicial source said.

Fifteen defendants were jailed for seven years and three for five years after being of attacking the police station in a village near Manama last November.

They had been charged with "aggression" against police, "possession of petrol bombs" and taking part in an unauthorized protest "aiming at undermining public security."

No casualties were reported in the attack.

Thursday's ruling brings to 122 the number of people jailed since September 29 in connection with violence in the Gulf kingdom that began in February 2011 with a month-long uprising.

In August, King Hamad decreed stiffer penalties for "terror acts."

These include a minimum 10-year jail term for an attempted bombing. If such attacks cause casualties, the sentence can be life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Bahraini protesters continue to demonstrate in villages outside the capital and frequently clash with police.

At least 89 people have been killed since the protests began two and a half years ago, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

Strategically located across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and is an offshore financial and services center for its oil-rich Arab neighbors.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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