Bahrain's state security court has sentenced nine people to jail terms of between one and five years in connection with anti-government unrest, an exiled opposition group said Sunday.
The London-based Bahrain Freedom Movement (BFM) said the sentences were passed on Saturday "in unfair trials which followed ill-treatment" and that two of the accused were tried in absentia.
Seven others were jailed for three years on June 10, according to the BFM.
The opposition's key demand is the restoration of parliament, which the former emir suspended in 1975. Anti-government unrest, notably arson attacks, has cost at least 38 lives since December 1994.
But the troubles have practically come to a halt since the death in March 1999 of Bahrain's emir, Sheikh Issa bin Salman al-Khalifa, and the accession of his son, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa.
On Saturday, one person was hospitalized with serious burns and 18 shops were gutted in a fire at a traditional covered souk in the Bahraini capital, the Gulf state's civil defense force said.
Bahrain's interior ministry said it was investigating the cause.
On May 6th, a mysterious pre-dawn blaze destroyed Bahrain's largest cinema, which is popular with the expatriate Asian community, and damaged another movie theatre next door - LONDON (AFP)
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