Bahraini photographer among 29 jailed for up to 10 years

A Bahraini woman holds a portrait of her imprisoned son as she takes part in an anti-government protest in solidarity with jailed activists and in celebration of Mother's day in the village of Abu Saiba, west of Manama, on March 21, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Bahraini court on Wednesday jailed 29 people, including an award winning photographer, for up to 10 years for an alleged attack on a police center in April 2012.

A judicial source and activists said the verdicts were based on defendants' confessions that were extracted under torture.

Twenty-six of those convicted were handed 10-year prison terms and three others jailed for three years, a source told AFP.

Among those sentenced to 10 years was Ahmed Humaidan, a 26-year-old photojournalist abducted by plainclothes police in late-2012.

Humaidan's lawyer said the court presented no evidence to suggest that he was involved in any attack against police aside from a confession he made under torture.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has documented cases of torture against the young photojournalist in prison, which included being blind-folded and told to hold an object for hours that police claimed was a bomb.

The prosecution accused the defendants of attacking a police center in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, with petrol bombs and iron rods, wounding a policeman.

The other defendants also told the court that they were tortured and their confessions obtained under duress, according to the judicial source.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains in a constant state of turmoil since authorities launched a bloody crackdown on a popular uprising three years ago, with hundreds of protesters and activists jailed on "terror" charges.

Authorities in the Gulf dictatorship last year increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences in certain cases.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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