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Bahrain court acquits police officers of torture charges

A Bahraini high criminal court on Monday acquitted two police officers on trial for the torture of six Shiite doctors during the uprising against the Sunni regime in 2011. The Grand Criminal Court's Third Chamber acquitted the two officers of all charges due to the lack of adequate evidence that the officers engaged in the torture of two female and four male doctors [Al Jazeera report] in March 2011. Both officers, one being Bahraini princess Noura Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa [BBC report] who serves in Bahrain's Drugs Control Unit, denied the charges. Prosecutor Nawaf Hamza will appeal the decision [ENA report] if they find error in the court's reasoning.

The anti-government protests in early 2011 have spurred numerous legal proceedings in Bahrain. In May a Bahrain court sentenced [JURIST report] 31 people to 15 years for their participation in firebomb attacks as part of anti-government protests. In March a Bahrain court reversed the convictions [JURIST report] for 21 medics who were arrested at a hospital during the 2011 protests. The group of medics were originally charged with taking part in unauthorized demonstrations after treating protesters who were injured by police and have alleged that they were tortured and coerced into making confessions following their arrest. At least 28 medics were charged, but most of the sentences have been overturned. However, in October of last year, the Bahrain Court of Cassation upheld jail sentences [JURIST report] issued to nine medics for allegedly participating in anti-government protests. 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.

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