Bahrain sentences three activists to death, slaps life terms on four

A court in Bahrain has sentenced three people to death over alleged involvement in terror acts as the Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain’s High Criminal Court on Thursday issued the verdicts against the suspects over purported bombings, which targeted anti-riot patrols in al-Qurayyah village and left a number of police officers injured.

Four other defendants were sentenced to life in prison, eight were handed down 15-year prison sentences, and two received 10-year jail terms.

The court also ordered the confiscation of all materials seized from the suspects.

On January 15, Bahrain executed three young activists by firing squad. The executions came a week after the Court of Cassation had upheld death sentences against the trio after finding them guilty of killing three policemen, including an Emirati officer, in the northern village of al-Daih back in March 2014.

Even the United States, the strongest ally of the Al Khalifah regime, reprimanded Bahrain over the executions.

“We’re concerned that these executions occurred at a time of elevated tension in Bahrain,” former US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, said at the time.

He added, “We’ve also seen allegations that the individuals facing execution were victims of torture, and that the evidence used against them in court was extracted, in part, through coerced confessions.”

On March 14, a Bahraini court adjourned until May 7 the trial of Sheikh Qassim.

The spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of his nationality on June 20, 2016, over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence.

The 77-year-old clergyman has denied the allegations, refused to be assigned a lawyer and declined to attend any of the trial sessions. Qassim faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.