Bahraini court gives death sentence to 2 young anti-regime protesters

A court has sentence two young anti-regime protesters to death and handed down jail terms to six others 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. 

On Tuesday, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court, presided by Ali Khalifah al-Dhahrani, delivered the death verdicts to Sayed Ahmed Fouad al-Abar and Hussein Ali Mahdi, sentenced two other defendants to life imprisonment and passed prison sentences ranging from 3 to 10 years to eight others, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported. 

The court also revoked the nationality of nine of the convicts, and ordered them to pay 28, 716 dinars ($76,106) altogether over damages inflicted on two police patrol cars during an anti-regime protest in the northern village of Karbabad back in April 2016. 

A Bahraini police officer purportedly lost his life and two others sustained injuries in the rally. 

On April 29, 2016, the Bahraini Interior Ministry announced that it had arrested 11 people, including 4 children, and charged them with the incident. 

The ministry then published the names and photographs of the suspects before referring the case to the Public Prosecution. 

The pictures showed tiredness and fatigue on the faces of the defendants, which proved they had been subjected to torture at the Criminal Investigation Building. 

Human rights activists maintain that detainees are often transferred on political grounds to the notorious building, where confessions are extracted from them under duress. 

Amnesty International has confirmed the accounts of torture and ill-treatment at the Criminal Investigation Building. 

Manama regime has stepped up crackdown on political dissent in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah during a summit in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh last month. 

Less than 48 hours after the US president left Saudi Arabia, Bahraini regime troops attacked supporters of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, in the northwestern village of Diraz, killing at least five people and arresting 286 others. Reports said 19 policemen were also injured in the clashes. 

The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said Trump “effectively gave Hamad a blank check to continue the repression of his people.” 

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, 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. 

King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3. 

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