Middle East

Bahrain court jails 11 Shiites over police attack

Tens of thousands of Bahraini anti-government protesters carrying signs and images of jailed political leaders marched in Saar, Bahrain, Friday, April 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

DUBAI: A Bahraini court on Monday sentenced 11 Shiite demonstrators to five years in jail each for attacking police with iron rods and petrol bombs near Manama last year, a judicial source said.

The men were accused of taking part in an unauthorised demonstration in the Shiite village of Al-Maameer, south of the capital, last June, the source said.

The prosecution also charged the demonstrators with assaulting a police patrol with "Molotov cocktails and iron rods", according to the source.

Dozens of Shiites have been tried over incidents of unrest following Arab Spring-inspired protests in mid-February 2011, during which demonstrators called for reforms in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

The Shiite-led protests led to a nationwide crackdown a month later, backed by Saudi-led Gulf forces which rolled into Bahrain in support of the ruling Al-Khalifa family.

Three years on and Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains deeply divided and demonstrators frequently clash with security forces in Shiite villages outside the capital.

Last year, authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences in certain cases.





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