Bahrainis protest sentences for jailed activists
The protesters marched near the capital Manama on Saturday, amid heavy security to denounce the verdicts upheld by an appeals court.
Anti-regime protests have intensified in the tiny Persian Gulf country after Bahrain’s highest court upheld sentences handed down to 13 prominent political activists for organizing demonstrations against the Al Khalifa regime.
The court’s verdict sparked protests in several towns, where demonstrators set tires on fire and blocked main roads.
A military court originally handed down the sentences in 2011. The rulings, which range from five years in prison to life sentences, were upheld by a civilian court in September 2012.
Those given life sentences include imprisoned human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and opposition leader Hassan Mushaima.
Amnesty International has described the decision unjust and called for the release of the 13 people who have been imprisoned “simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”
The Bahraini uprising began in February 2011. The Manama regime promptly launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests, calling in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states.
Bahraini protesters say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.
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