Friday, April 29, 2011

Bahrain Sentences Protesters To Death - 29th Apr 2011

Four Bahrainis have been sentenced to death for the killing of two policemen during pro-democracy protests in the Gulf nation.

A military court also sentenced three other Shia Muslims to life imprisonment for their role in the deaths of the two officers.

The verdicts were the first related to the uprising, which saw the Shia minority demand greater political representation and freedoms in the Sunni-ruled country.

Bahrain's human rights groups criticised the verdict and said the closed-door trial had no legal credibility.

"This verdict is a message from the government, determined to stop the democracy movement," Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, said.

"It's a warning, saying this is how we will treat you if you continue to demand your rights."

However, the Bahrain News Agency said the defendants had "all their legal rights" during the trial for what it called "one of the most gruesome murders in Bahrain".

After a hearing earlier this week, Bahrain state media reported the military prosecutor had presented evidence that showed the defendants killed the police officers "on purpose" by running them over with a car.

Their lawyers denied the charge of voluntary homicide of public officials with "terrorist" intentions.

Bahrain's Emir declared martial law during the protests and invited foreign troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to help crush the Shia-led dissent.

Hundreds of protesters, opposition leaders and human rights activists have been detained since March 15. Read More