SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Bahrain's highest appeal court has upheld the sentences of 13 activists for their part in anti-government protests in 2011, lawyers say. This was their last possible chance of getting their convictions overturned, their defence lawyers said. Some of the activists received life sentences after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the state. Bahrain has been wracked by unrest since pro-democracy demonstrations began in February 2011. The protesters had occupied a prominent landmark in the capital, Manama, to demand more rights and an end to discrimination against the majority Shia Muslim community by the Sunni royal family. But they were forcibly driven out a month later by security forces after the king declared a state of emergency and brought in troops from neighbouring Sunni Gulf states to restore order and crush dissent. Since then, at least 60 people - including several police officers - have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands jailed.
The 13 who lost their final appeal were among 20 opposition leaders and activists - seven of whom were tried in absentia - who were originally convicted by a special military tribunal in 2011 of plotting to overthrow the state. Eight of them received life sentences, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who last year staged a 110-day hunger strike in protest at his detention.Two others who received life sentences are Hassan Mushaima and Abdeljalil al-Singace, both leaders of an unauthorised Shia group, the al-Haq (Truth) Movement for Liberty and Democracy.All 20 lost an appeal in a civilian court last September.
Human Rights groups condemned the sentences, saying there was no evidence that the activists had used or advocated violence during their protests and that their subsequent detention and trial contravened international law.Only 13 filed appeals to Bahrain's highest court."This verdict is final, there are no more appeals possible, it is the last stage of litigation," defence lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters news agency by telephone from Manama.
The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner says this is a clear victory for hardliners in the government and the ruling family, who consider calls for regime change an unforgivable crime.They will have resisted calls by moderates for pardons, he says. The ruling is likely to draw criticism from human rights groups and stimulate further protests in the Shia districts and villages, our correspondent adds. As BBC Reported
A defense attorney says Bahrain’s highest court has upheld jail sentences against 20 opposition figures convicted of plotting to overthrow the Western-allied government, including eight prominent activists facing life in prison.Monday’s decision is almost certain to bring strong criticism from rights groups and touch off more street protests in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom. Bahrain’s majority Shiites are pressing for a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.The lawyer, Jalil al-Aradi, says the court ruling likely closes all appeal options.Among the eight sentenced to life is rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who staged a 110-day hunger strike last year in protest. The other 12 have sentences ranging from five to 15 years, with seven convicted in absentia.As AP reported
Dr.Saeed AlShehabi member of opposition in London said in reaction to verdict in his twitter :
Today's decision by Alkhalifa dictators to uphold the life imprisonment of political leaders confirmed their lack of sense or logic #Bahrain
Bahrain's judiciary is used as a weapon against Bahrainis, like police, security, army and media. These sectors must be liberated #Bahrain
BICI, Amnesty Internaitonal, Human Rights Watch, UN HR Council, European Parliament called for leaders release. Alkhalifa refused
These resistance symbolse, supported by people, vowed to continue struggle until Bahrain is liberated from dictatorship, occupation#Bahrain
Sheikh Ali Salman Alwefq society his reaction was in his twitter :
The high commissioner for #Humanrights Navi Pillay was honest when she described the sentences of leaders as “political
The judgments confirms the need for radical reform government that govern dissenting opinion to life imprisonment must be dropped
Today support the sentences handed down by the military court to say that the provisions in the military and civil courts is one voice
Source : Shafaqna.com/english