Middle East

Bahrain cuts jail term for policeman who killed protester

A riot policeman detains an anti-government protester (R), who was injured during a fall while running away from the police, during clashes in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama in this March 21, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

DUBAI: A Bahraini court Monday cut a jail term handed to a policeman for killing a protester during a Shiite Muslim-led uprising in 2011 from seven to three years, a judicial source said.

The policeman, who appeared in court, had been convicted of shooting dead protester Ali Musheime in February 2011 with birdshot, but the court said Monday that the killing was not premeditated murder.

Three policemen who witnessed the incident had said during investigations their colleague acted in self-defence after Musheime tried to attack members of their patrol in the Shiite village of Dia, lawyers said.

Musheime was the first fatality of month-long protests against the rule of the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty that erupted in mid-February 2011.

A number of policemen are being investigated or standing trial for allegedly killing and torturing detainees after hundreds of Shiites were rounded up when security forces crushed the protests in mid-March 2011.

Some have been acquitted or received reduced sentences as Bahraini courts slapped Shiite protesters with lengthy jail terms.

Authorities say they are implementing the recommendations of an independent commission of inquiry called for by the king that confirmed allegations of excessive use of force by security forces during the uprising.

Home to the US Fifth Fleet and strategically situated across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain still sees sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, mostly outside the capital Manama.

At least 89 people have been killed since the protests began two and a half years ago, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.

 

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