Leading activist: Bahraini lives "cheaper than car tires"

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Bahraini women mourn during the funeral of 20-year-old political prisoner Hussein Mahdi Habib, found shot to death after his escape from prison, in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, on October 20, 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed al-Shaikh)

Published Monday, October 21, 2013

An appellate court on Monday reduced to three years the prison sentence of a police officer convicted of killing the first martyr of Bahrain's 2011 anti-government uprising, as three activists were handed five-year jail terms for burning tires at an "illegal gathering," judicial sources and a human rights group said.

A Bahraini court originally sentenced the unnamed police officer in January to seven years in jail for fatally shooting 21-year-old Ali Musheime in the back on February 14, 2011 in the village of al-Daih during a "day of rage" rally which ignited a massive, pro-democracy rebellion against the Gulf island's western-backed ruling family.

A second youth was killed the following day when police opened fire on Musheime's funeral procession. Amnesty International said that "clear evidence" was present of "police brutality and excessive force" in those killings.

At least 87 more would be killed in the ensuing crackdown on dissidents, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).

The appellate court decided to reduce the policeman's sentence after three fellow officers who witnessed Musheime's killing claimed their colleague acted in "self-defense," lawyers said.

The ruling comes as members of BCHR reported over Twitter that a separate court on Monday sentenced three protesters each to five years in prison for burning tires and taking part in an "illegal gathering."

"Human lives in Bahrain [are] cheaper than car tires," Maryam al-Khawaja, BCHR's acting director, wrote on Twitter.

The three protesters were identified as Mohammed Ibrahim al-Mesjin, Ali Ibrahim al-Sayegh, and Ali Jaafar.

Meanwhile activists this week have continued to campaign against an alleged deal with South Korean suppliers to replenish Bahrain's stock of tear gas with a 1.6 million canister shipment.

The "Stop the Shipment" campaign was launched last week after a secret tender was leaked from Bahrain's interior ministry showing its intentions to place an order for 1.6 million tear gas shells, 145,000 stun and flash grenades, and 90,000 tear gas grenades.

Physicians for Human Rights says that 39 deaths in Bahrain since February 2011 are attributed to tear gas.

Campaigners say over 20,000 e-mails have been sent to parties involved in the tear gas order urging them to cancel the deal.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)


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