Bahrain sentences two Shiites to death, 19 to life for ‘terror cell’
DUBAI - Bahrain's criminal court on Wednesday sentenced two Shiites to death and 19 others to life imprisonment in a ruling against a cell convicted of terror attacks.
It also sentenced 17 members of the cell to 15 years in jail, nine others to 10 years, 11 to five years, and acquitted the last two defendants, Bahrain's BNA news agency reported.
The defendants were convicted of forming a "terror" cell that carried out a number of attacks, killing at least two policemen and wounding several others, and of smuggling weapons by boat.
It also convicted them of attacking a prison and helping some prisoners to flee, of travelling to Iraq and Iran for military training and engaging in a gunbattle with police.
All the convicts are from the Shiite majority in the small Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom.
Large quantities of weapons including grenades and light machine-guns were seized from the group, according to the ruling.
The court revoked the citizenship of 47 of the convicts.
Thirty-six members, including the two condemned to death, are already in jail while the rest were sentenced in absentia, including 12 defendants living in Iran and Iraq and one in Germany, a judicial source said.
The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) immediately condemned the ruling.
"Today's ruling is the latest episode in Bahrain's travesty of justice, and likely one of the most cruel," said the director of BIRD, Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei.
BIRD said two women were among those convicted while the fate of two other female defendants in the case was not immediately known.
Twenty-one Bahrainis are now on death row in "political cases", 14 of them convicted in 2017, it said.
Authorities have cracked down hard on dissent since mass street protests in 2011 that demanded an elected prime minister and constitutional monarchy in Bahrain.