DUBAI: A Bahraini appeals court on Wednesday upheld a death sentence and a life-term respectively passed on two protesters convicted of murdering a policeman during a Shiite-led uprising last year, lawyers said.
The court upheld the death sentence handed down in September 2011 to Ali al-Taweel and the term of life imprisonment given Ali Shamlo, both convicted of running over policeman Ahmed al-Mreyssi with the intention of killing him.
The attack is said to have taken place in the Shiite village of Sitra during unrest in the wake of a government crackdown on demonstrations in mid-March 2011.
Both men said they will appeal at the court of cassation.
Al-Wefaq, the largest opposition bloc in Bahrain, slammed the court verdict as "oppressive", claiming confessions the prisoners made were extracted under torture.
The sentences were first handed down to the protesters by a court set up under a state of national safety, a lower level of emergency law declared by King Hamad in mid-March 2011. In June that year, the king lifted the measure.
Last December, a Bahraini court commuted to life imprisonment the death sentences of two other Shiites convicted of killing two policemen during unrest in 2011.
The court reduced the terms of four others held over the same case from life imprisonment to 15 years in jail. A seventh defendant, whose sentence was also commuted to 15 years behind bars, remains at large.
Shiite-majority Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni dynasty, has been shaken by unrest since Shiite-led protests erupted in mid-February 2011.
The International Federation for Human Rights says 80 people have been killed since the start of the Arab Spring-inspired uprising on February 14, 2011.