|Bahraini regime sentences 50 Shias to long jail terms||
The ruling Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain has sentenced 50 followers of Islam’s Shia faith to jail terms of up to 15 years, according to sources in the country’s judiciary, According to Al Alam News Network.
The sentences were handed down on Sunday by a Bahraini court, which charged the accused defendants, including Iraqi cleric Hadi al-Mudaressi, with organizing the ‘February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition.’
Al-Mudaressi, however, was sentenced in absentia.
Bahraini authorities accuse the anti-regime group of involvement in “terrorism.”
The court sentenced 16 defendants to 15 years in jail, four others to ten years and the other 30 to five years.
Among those sentenced to five years in jail is a woman arrested in April during practice sessions for the Formula One Grand Prix on suspicion of plotting to carry out an attack on the Sakhir circuit, which hosts the world motor sport event.
According to Reuters, police at the time said two women were arrested, saying one of them had concealed a pillow under her clothes as a dry run to test security measures.
The convictions Sunday mark the broadest blow yet against suspected backers of the February 14 faction, named after the date in 2011 that began an uprising by Bahraini citizens who have staged numerous demonstrations in the streets, calling for the U.S.-backed Al Khalifa regime to relinquish power.
Manama’s human rights record has come under scrutiny over its handling of anti-regime protests that erupted across the Arab country in early 2011.
According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested since March 2011.
Physicians for Human Rights say doctors and nurses have been detained, tortured, or disappeared because they have “evidence of atrocities committed by the authorities, security forces, and riot police” in the crackdown on anti-regime protesters.
At least 89 people have been killed since the protests erupted in February 2011, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and is an offshore financial and services center for its oil-rich Gulf Arab neighbors.
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