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Bahrain court acquits 2 policemen in protester death

The Bahrain Higher Criminal Court on Tuesday acquitted two police officers in the shooting death of a Shiite protester during the nation's pro-democracy protests in Manama that began in February 2011. Bahraini lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi [twitter account, in Arabic] who represented the protester's family, said the Bahrain court concluded the two police officers fired shots at Fadhel Matruk but did not intend to kill him. The court's decision came a few days after an appeals court affirmed the acquittal [AFP report] of two policemen accused of killing two protesters in a separate incident.

Numerous legal proceedings have arisen from the 2011 protests. Earlier this month a Bahrain police officer was sentenced to seven years [JURIST report] in prison for fatally shooting a protester. Bahrain authorities banned all protests [JURIST report] effective October 2012. In January a court in Bahrain released [JURIST report] human rights activist Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda on bail pending trial for charges of spreading false news to harm security. Also in January the highest Bahraini appellate court upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of 13 prominent pro-democracy protestors convicted by military tribunal in 2011 on charges of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. In December Bahrain's High Criminal Court of Appeals commuted death sentences [JURIST report] for two protesters, instead sentencing them to life imprisonment. Earlier in December the prison sentence for outspoken Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab was reduced by one year [JURIST report]. In November Amnesty International released a brief detailing how Bahrain had failed to meet its obligations [JURIST report] and promises to ensure respect for human rights and prevent further torture within the country.

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