An appeals court in Bahrain has upheld the life sentences as well as the citizenship revocation of five Shia activists over allegations of espionage and planning attacks in the country.
A statement by the prosecution said on Sunday that the court rejected the appeal by the five defendants and stripped them of their citizenship.
In November last year, a Bahraini court handed down life imprisonment sentences to the men after convicting them of “spying for Iran” and seeking to carry out hostile acts against Bahrain.
The Bahraini monarchy, which is facing a massive popular uprising, has heavily relied on courts to level accusations of spying for Iran against protesters as part of a crackdown on political dissent. Hundreds of people, including notable opposition leaders, are behind bars for their involvement in popular protests against the monarchy.
The Manama regime has accused the Islamic Republic of interfering in its affairs. Iran has strongly rejected the allegation.
Several International rights organizations have accused the Bahraini government of human rights abuses against opposition activists, saying lengthy jail terms and verdicts stripping residents of their citizenship show the regime’s lack of tolerance for political activism.
The uprising in Bahrain began in February 2011. Since then, anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations calling for the royal family to step down.
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