[JURIST] A Bahrain court on Sunday issued 15 year prison sentences to 31 protesters for their role in firebomb attacks as part of anti-government protests, according to a defense lawyer. The sentence [AP report] came after the protesters were arrested in March and charged with attempted murder, burning police cars, protesting and possession of explosives. The crimes were committed during an attack on police in the Shiite village of Sitra which has been a hotbed of anti-government protests since 2011. The accused protesters claimed [RT report] that they are innocent of the charges and that torture was used to secure confessions from some of the protesters.
In October of last year, the Bahrain Court of Cassation upheld jail sentences [JURIST report] issued to nine medics for allegedly participating in the March of 2011 anti-government protests. Twenty medics, including 13 doctors, one dentist, nurses and paramedics, were originally jailed and sentenced in September 2011 for providing treatment to injured protesters after the Salmaniya Medical Complex was stormed by security forces in March. Though originally sentenced to 15 years in prison, a Bahrain court in June 2012 overturned or reduced the sentences [JURIST report] for most of the medical professionals. In November King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered a special commission [JURIST report] to make recommendations after the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) concluded in a report that Bahraini authorities used excessive force [JURIST report] and tortured detained protesters during the pro-democracy demonstrations earlier that year.