Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Bahrain sentences 138 individuals on terror charges

Citizenships revoked: Bahrain jails 138 Shia activists for planning Hizballah-like 'terror' group Bahrain jails 138 for planning 'terror' group linked to Iran Guards
Patty Aguilar | 18 April, 2019, 20:16

The Gulf state of Bahrain Tuesday jailed 138 people and revoked their citizenship for plotting to form a "terror" group with links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the public prosecutor said.

In May a year ago, 115 people were also stripped of their citizenship following a single trial, their sentences were upheld in January.

Charges against the group included forming a terrorist cell inside Bahrain with help from mainly Shi'ite Iran for the objective of carrying out attacks in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Some members had received military training in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, he claimed in the statement.

Tuesday's decision took the number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 990, 180 of them this year, the institute said in a statement.

The court also imposed heavy fines on 96 of the defendants, ordering each of them to pay 100,000 Bahraini dinars (265,235 U.S. dollars).

The group was labelled as "Hezbollah Bahrain".

The defendants, of which 109 are in custody and 60 were tried in absentia, are allowed to appeal the sentences.

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In January, Bahrain's Supreme Court, whose verdicts are final, upheld a life term for opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman for allegedly spying for Gulf rival Qatar.

"Today's trial makes a mockery of justice and confirms an alarming pattern of convictions after unfair mass trials in Bahrain".

Authorities have jailed dozens of high-profile activists and disbanded both religious and secular opposition groups since the Shiite-led protests demanding political change erupted in 2011.

"With these outrageous sentences, Bahrain's authorities have once again demonstrated their complete disregard for worldwide fair trial standards", said Amnesty International's Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf.

Since 2012, Bahraini authorities have stripped around 900 people of their citizenship, rendering them stateless, an action considered illegal under worldwide law.

Mr Al-Wadaei, who is based in London and seeking permanent residence in the United Kingdom, said other Bahrainis who have been stripped of their nationality since 2012 have mostly been Shiite Bahrainis.

"Arbitrarily stripping people of their citizenship and rendering citizens stateless are blatant violations of worldwide law". In February Bahrain convicted 167 people of participating in a non-violent sit-in, and in a separate May 2018 trial 115 people were stripped of their citizenship in a similar trial.

The Bahraini government past year deported to Iraq eight stateless Bahrainis whose citizenship it had previously stripped for "damaging state security".

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