Bahrain court jails 139 after terrorism trial


A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to 139 people, including 69 life sentences, for terrorism offences after one of the biggest mass trials in the country’s history. All but one also had their citizenship revoked, a statement from the public prosecutor, Ahmad al-Hammadi, said on Tuesday. Local news outlets said the defendants were accused of trying to build a Bahraini Hezbollah, similar to the Lebanese armed group funded by Iran, in order to sow discord in the Gulf kingdom.

Some had trained in Iran, Lebanon and Iraq, Hammadi said, and were found guilty of training with and using illegal weapons and explosives and launching terrorist attacks.  All the detainees are believed to be members of the Sunni-ruled country’s Shia majority, which has long accused the kingdom of discriminating against them. Thirty defendants were acquitted, Hammadi said.

According to rights groups, Bahrain is increasingly using terrorism-related charges and the removal of citizenship to crack down on mostly peaceful political activists. Opposition members and rights activists have been jailed or fled, and authorities have denies multiple accusations of torture. Since new laws were introduced in 2012 after the previous year’s Arab Spring protests, 990 people have had their Bahraini citizenship revoked, 180 of them in 2019 alone, and mass trials have become commonplace.(theguardian)…[+]