Bahrain jails 7 protesters as rights group claim ‘torture’ of activists

The trial took place on Wednesday. Attorney General  Mhannaal-Shayji said in an official statement that the group were accusedof “intentionally attempting to kill policemen in the (Shiite)town of Sitra… using petrol bombs.” Seven of the men receivedjail terms, and 13 others were acquitted.The men were arrested in the wake of mass protests that tookplace in February 2012. Human rights groups voiced criticism of thearrests at that time, claiming the detainment was illegitimate, noarrest warrants had been presented, and the confessions of theaccused were extracted under torture.Following the Wednesday ruling, the main Shia opposition blocAl-Wefaq alleged that all 20 men, including the five minors, were”tortured” during their interrogation and spoke “underduress.”The Bahrain Center for Human Rights also noted that the judgepresiding in the case, Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Khalifa, is a member ofthe ruling family.In February 2012, violent clashes broke out in Bahrain at thefuneral of a teenager killed during protests marking the one-yearanniversary of a revolt by the Shia majority against the rulingSunni monarchy. Police blocked and dispersed  the processionwith stun grenades and tear gas.Protester Fadhel Al-Matrook died of wounds from the police fire.However, the police officers were acquitted on Tuesday – a judgeruled they had no intent to kill, and were performing their dutyduring protests. Jalila al Sayed, a Bahraini human rights lawyer,described the verdict as “a very sad day for justice inBahrain,” BBC reported.Bahraini human rights activists have unsuccessfully called onthe international community to intervene, in what they described asthe suppression of the country opposition.Bahrain – home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet – is ruled by aSunni monarchy, while over 75 percent of the population is Shia. InFebruary 2011, thousands of protesters swarmed the streets ofBahrain’s capital Manama, demanding democratic reforms and theresignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa.At least 82 protesters have been killed since the start of theuprising.

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Bahrain jails 7 protesters as rights group claim ‘torture’ of activists

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