A Bahraini court has sentenced 12 anti-regime protesters to life in prison as pressure on dissidents mounts in the Persian Gulf country.
According to reports on Tuesday, the Bahraini court sentenced others to 15 years in prison with a fine of 1000 Bahraini dinars.
The court convicted the men of taking part in an unauthorized demonstration in the country.
The incident marks the latest in a series of harsh sentences handed down to protesters in the nation.
On April 14, a court in Bahrain sentenced eleven anti-regime protesters to five years in prison for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration in a village, south of the capital Manama last year. The prosecution also convicted the Bahrainis of assaulting police during the rally.
On April 6, seven anti-regime protesters were also sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to Bahraini judicial sources, the protesters were sentenced for allegedly attacking a Bahraini policeman in the village of Dia near Manama during a demonstration in December 2012.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and jailed by the regime forces since the uprising broke out.
In February, Amnesty International denounced the “relentless repression” of anti-regime protesters in the Persian Gulf kingdom, blaming Bahraini security forces for their repeated use of “excessive force to quash anti-government protests.”
Detainees continue to complain from being subjected to torture, coercion and assault during arrest and interrogation in order to extract confessions set by the security apparatus.
Bahrain was criticized by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay who said the judiciary’s trials are used for “political persecution” against dissidents.
In 2013, 47 States in the UN Human Rights Council condemned Bahrain and expressed serious concern over its human rights situation.
Representative of Ayatollah Sistani forced to leave Bahrain
Meanwhile, well-known Shia scholar and representative of the Grand Ayatollah Sistani was finally forced to leave Bahrain on Wednesday.
The Bahraini government had earlier warned Ayatollah Hussein Nejati that he should leave the country because of his opposition to the policies adopted by the Al Khalifa regime.
Senior Bahraini Shia cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassem said Friday that attempts to expel representative of Ayatollah Sistani from the country have no legal basis.
Qassem criticized the Al Khalifa regime’s decision to expel Ayatollah Hussein Nijati and described it as an illegal move.
He said the regime’s insistence on forcing the cleric to leave the country would send the message to the Bahraini people that they are considered strangers in their own land.
He added that the Al Khalifa regime’s insistence on expelling Ayatollah Nijati could close all the doors to any solution for leading the country out of the current crisis.
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