Bahrain’s rulers accuse Iran of backing the protesters and inciting unrest in the kingdom

Bahrain’s giant appeals court on Monday upheld a death sentence and large jail terms in a mass trial over a fatal 2016 bombing that authorities have linked to Iran.

According to a statement by the public prosecutor’s office, the Court of Cassation upheld capital punishment for one defendant, a life sentence for a second, and long prison terms for six others.

All eight have also had their Bahraini citizenship cancelled.

A judicial source near to the case stated that the defendants were Shiites, who form the majority of the population in the Sunni-ruled monarchy.

The 2016 bombing, in the eastern village of Sitra, aimed a police patrol, authorities mentioned at the time. The casualties, however, were civilians — a woman was killed and her three children wounded.

A criminal court found 10 Bahrainis guilty of charges linked to the attack, including homicide, ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, espionage and “terrorist” activity.

Authorities say two of them are still on the run.

Located between regional rivals Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iran, Bahrain has been the site of Shiite-led protests insisting an elected government since 2011.

Bahrain’s rulers accuse Iran of backing the protesters and inciting unrest in the kingdom, a charge Tehran denies.
Authorities have cracked down on all dissent, drawing harsh condemnation from international rights groups.

They have jailed dozens of high-profile activists, disbanded both religious and secular opposition groups and – according to Amnesty International – rendering hundreds stateless by stripping them of their citizenship and rendering them stateless.

The archipelago plays a main military role in the Gulf, hosting both the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and a British military base under construction.

 

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