[JURIST] Bahraini defense lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi [twitter account, in Arabic] announced that the High Criminal Court of Appeals on Wednesday commuted death sentences for two male protesters to life imprisonment. The men were sentenced for their role in Bahrain’s 2011’s political uprisings [BBC report] when they allegedly killed two policemen. Two other in the killing had their sentences reduced to 15 years in prison. The court also cut life sentences issued to 13 men for killing a Pakistan citizen during the protests to 15 years in prison. Additionally the court reduced the sentences of 15 people jailed for the protest inspired attempted murder of a Bahraini soldier. Bahrain has been besieged by civil unrest since Shiite groups staged uprisings in February 2011 demanding democratic reform of the Bahrain’s Sunni-led monarchy. Thousands of protesters were subsequently arrested and faced strict prison sentences. After facing scrutiny by human rights group, Bahrain has taken steps to address the brutality of its security forces.
Earlier in December, the prison sentence for outspoken Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab was reduced by one year [JURIST report]. Last November, Amnesty International (AI) released a brief [JURIST report] detailing how Bahrain had failed to meet its obligations and promises to ensure respect for human rights and prevent further torture within the country. Last October, the Bahrain appeals court upheld verdicts against two teachers [JURIST report] for organizing a teacher’s strike to support anti-government protests. Last September, the daughter of a Bahraini human rights activist was sentenced to two months in prison [JURIST report] for tearing up pictures of the country’s king.