Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court sentenced eight activists to life in prison for their alleged part in the killing of a policeman in a bomb blast in November, the prosecutor's office said on Sunday.
The prosecutor's office said the eight men planted a homemade bomb close to where police usually erected a checkpoint during protests, before setting tires on fire and blocking the road to lure police to the site, Reuters reported.
One policeman was killed and four others were injured in the resulting blast, the prosecutor said.
Bahrain's main opposition group, al-Wefaq, said on its website that detainees were regularly subjected to torture and forced to make confessions and that the courts were ignoring human rights violations committed by the security forces.
The Bahrain government says it has taken steps to address security forces' violations by dismissing those responsible and introducing cameras at police stations to monitor abuses. But activists say this has not helped.
Shias in the kingdom have long complained that they are underrepresented in elections and that they face discrimination in getting government jobs. The government denies discrimination.
Also on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said it had arrested five people in relation to another explosion that took place in the village of Maqsha on April 19.
Two people were killed in a car when a homemade bomb they were transporting in order to blow up a police checkpoint exploded, and another was injured.
Hunger strike continues
Meanwhile, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society in Bahrain said that 400 prisoners in Jo Prison in the south of the country continued their hunger strike for the second day protesting "excessive violations."
Bahraini interior ministry denied Al-Wefaq's accusations regarding the "excessive violations" and said the "claims have nothing to do with reality."
The opposition society noted that a number of the hunger strikers had "passed out" after they were beaten and insulted. Heads of some prisoners were shaved, according to Al-Wefaq, as a sign of "humiliation," and "religious figures were insulted before them."
Writing on Twitter, Al-Wefaq reported that the families of the prisoners called upon the International Red Cross and human rights organizations to interfere and stop "the violations against their sons." The families also expressed their concerns after they were prevented from visiting their sons.
The central prison of Jo is the place where political and security prisoners are held. According to Al-Wefaq Society, approximately 1,500 prisoners were "mistreated."
Protesters voice support for prisoners
Bahraini protesters held anti-regime demonstrations across the country to voice support for political prisoners.
The protests were held in several villages including Bani Jamrah, Diraz, and Ma’ameer on Saturday, with demonstrators chanting slogans against the ruling Al Khalifa regime, Al-Alam reported.
Protesters also expressed solidarity with the political prisoners as the Manama regime ignores international calls to release the inmates.
Since mid-February 2011, Bahraini protesters have held numerous demonstrations, calling for the Al Khalifa regime to relinquish power.
A close ally top Washington, the Persian Gulf Arab kingdom hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
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