A Manama court today upheld guilty verdicts against 13 opposition leaders accused of plotting against the monarchy of Bahrain. The verdicts, including seven life sentences and others ranging from 2 to 15 years in prison, therefore remained unchanged. The defendants, seven of whom tried in abstentia, have already announced appeals.
Among those sentenced to life in prison is Abdelhadi Al Khawaja, who had staged a long hunger strike.
The trial of another known activist, Zainab Al Khawaja, was adjourned until September 10. The head of the Bahraini Human Rights Center, Nabil Rajab, has been detained for various weeks serving a 3 year prison sentence.
Today’s confirmation of convictions drew strong criticism, including from Amnesty International that defined it a violation of human rights.
Political parties and civil society groups have for 18 months been calling on the monarchy for concrete democratic reforms in the small Gulf nation. Aspirations that brought many to the streets peacefully, however encountering a harsh reaction from the government and security forces that left several dead and lead to the arrest of hundreds.