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Middle east

Pro-reform protesters sentenced to death for police killings

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-28

A military court sentenced four Shiite protesters to death and jailed three others for life on Thursday over the killing of two policemen during a pro-democracy rally last month.

AFP - A Bahraini military court sentenced four Shiite protesters to death and three to life in prison Thursday over the killing of two policemen at a crackdown on a pro-democracy rally last month, state media said.

The national safety court of first instance sentenced to death Ali Abdullah Hasan al-Singace, Qasim Hassan Mattar Ahmed, Saeed Abdul Jalil Saeed, and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ibrahim Hussein, the official BNA news agency reported.

Three other civilians, Issa Abdullah Kazem Ali, Sadiq Ali Mahdi, and Hussein Jaafar Abdul Karim, were sentenced to life in prison, it added.

The trial of the seven began on April 17, with BNA news agency reporting at the time that they were accused of committing voluntary homicide of public officials with “terrorist” intentions.

Witnesses addressed the tribunal, and a video allegedly showing the attackers in cars hitting police was played, the agency said.

According to authorities, four police were killed after being struck by cars during the protests in the kingdom which is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

The verdict concerning the killing of policemen Kashif Ahmed Manzur and Mohammed Farouk Abdulsamad could be appealed, BNA said.

It said the defendants were allowed access to lawyers and contact with their families, and representatives of Bahraini and foreign media, human rights groups and family members were allowed to attend the hearing.

Shiite former MP Matar Matar told AFP that although the verdict could be appealed, it cannot reach cassation for being issued by a court martial.

Bahrain had declared a State of National Safety, a lower degree of emergency, on March 16, a day before security forces crushed a month-long Shiite-led demonstration demanding democratic reforms.

Bahraini authorities have said 24 people were killed during the unrest, most of them demonstrators.

On Wednesday, a Bahraini official said 405 detainees had been referred to military courts while 312 have been released.

“Sixty-two criminal cases and 343 misdemeanor cases have been referred to the courts of national safety,” said the head of the Information Affairs Authority, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa according to statement late Wednesday.

He said 312 detainees have been released, “some for health reasons,” and others after considering the period of their detention enough.

Bahraini authorities have come under strong criticism from international rights organisations over a heavyhanded crackdown on protesters from the Shiite-majority community in the kingdom that is ruled by a Sunni dynasty.

The United States on Tuesday voiced concern over the fate of detainees, noting that some have died in custody.

At least 567 people, including 38 women, remain in detention, Matar told AFP this week, out of around 1,000 people rounded up after security forces crushed the protest.

Date created : 2011-04-28


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