MANAMA (Press TV) – A court in Bahrain has handed down prison sentences to seven anti-regime protesters as the ruling Al Khalifah regime continues with its heavy clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
Bahraini judiciary officials sentenced three defendants, identified as Mahmoud Sadiq al-Sharqi, Abdullah Maytham al-Haddad and Syed Muhammad Syed Anwar, to five years in jail each, while the remaining four, identified as Abdullah Abdullah al-Hanzabari, Hussein Kamel Mirza, Badr Maytham al-Haddad and Syed Majeed Syd Faisal, received 3-year prison terms each on Wednesday, the Britain-based and Arabic-language Bahrain al-Youm news agency reported.
The report added that the defendants were all local residents of Jidhafs city, which lies five kilometers (3 miles) west of the capital Manama.
Back on November 13 last year, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) announced in a statement that law courts had issued death sentences against 32 opposition figures since 2011, three of which had been carried out, seven commuted to life imprisonment and two others appealed.
"All these verdicts have been pronounced following unfair trials, and therefore do not comply with the guarantees of fair trials. The BCHR has documented many cases in which those sentenced to death have been subjected to torture,” the statement read at the time.
The BCHR then called on the Manama regime to reverse all death sentences and sign the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is aiming at the abolition of death penalty.
The center further noted that the Bahraini judiciary had overused death penalty in recent years, particularly with regards to freedom of opinion and expression in addition to the exercise of political rights.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established. Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 that year.