[JURIST] A Bahraini court on Monday sentenced 13 Bahrain citizens to life in prison and one man to 10 years in prison. The defendants, who range in age from 16 to 34, were convicted [Reuters report] of attempting to kill two police officers and participating in an illegal protest outside Bahrain’s capital city in March 2012. Protests and other clashes have occurred in Bahrain since 2011, when Shi’ite Muslims began demanding more governmental influence in the Sunni-ruled constitutional monarchy of Bahrain [official website]. The lawyer for the defendants, Mohammed al-Tajir, has said he would appeal the court’s decision.
Sunni-ruled Bahrain continues to battle public protest and violence from clashes with the Shi’ite minority. Earlier this month, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court convicted 11 defendants [JURIST report] of possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives and of manufacturing bombs for terror purposes, meting out 15-year prison sentences and significant fines. In November Bahraini authorities arrested and charged [JURIST report] two former Guantanamo Bay detainees for plotting an attack in Bahrain. In October a Bahrain appellate court reduced the prison sentences [JURIST report] of two police officers convicted of torturing and murdering a detainee after opposition protests in March 2011. In September Mohamed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, reported that a Bahrain court sentenced 50 defendants [JURIST report] to prison terms ranging between five and 15 years in prison, with 20 of the defendants sentenced in absentia.