Bahraini court sentences 12 protesters to jail on arson charges
On Wednesday, the court sentenced the protesters to 15 years in jail each, accusing them of setting the car warehouse ablaze near the capital Manama where 59 cars were damaged in February 2012.
The court also accused the defendants of participating in “an unauthorized demonstration” and “possessing Molotov cocktails.”
The Bahraini court slapped a total of 383,000 dinars (USD 1 million, 700,000 euros) in fines on the group for the cars damaged in the warehouse.
On December 8, a court in Bahrain sentenced 12 anti-regime protesters, including three minors, to prison terms of up to five years.
The court sentenced the nine adults to five years in jail each. The three minors were also given three-year prison terms each.
Manama has accused the defendants of attacking a police patrol with petrol bombs.
According to Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq, the Manama regime's harsh clampdown on pro-democracy activists has intensified over the past months.
In October, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “The [Bahraini] authorities simply slap the label 'terrorist' on defendants and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a 'confession'.”
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, calling for political reforms and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
Scores have been killed, many of them under torture while in custody, and thousands more detained since the popular uprising started in the kingdom.
Physicians for Human Rights says doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have "evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police" in the crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Protesters say they will continue to hold anti-regime demonstrations until their demands for the establishment of a democratically-elected government and an end to rights violations are met.