Bahraini court sentences three to death for police bombings

A Bahraini appeals court sentenced three people to death on Thursday over bombings that targeted police patrols in a majority-Shia village, the state-run news agency reported.

Three people were sentenced to death by Bahraini courts on Thursday, over bombings that targeted police patrols in a majority-Shia village, the state-run news agency reported.

Fourteen others were also found guilty of various charges linked to the formation of a “dangerous terrorist cell that manufactured improvised explosives used against police” in the village of Kurayat west of the capital Manama, the Bahrain News Agency said.

The attacks allegedly wounded a number of police officers, the agency said, without providing further details.

Four of those convicted on Thursday received life sentences, eight were sentenced to 15 years and two others to 10 years in prison.

In January,  three men that were convicted of a bombing that targeted police officers were executed by firing squad, prompting a fresh wave of protests in the majority-Shia kingdom.

Earlier this month, Bahrain’s government approved a constitutional change allowing military courts to try civilians.

Activists warn the amendment will allow an undeclared state of martial law on the island near Saudi Arabia that is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.

“The Bahraini king is effectively creating a police state with this de facto martial law,” Sayed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said in a statement.

Ruled for two centuries by the Al-Khalifa dynasty, Bahrain has increasingly tightened its grip on dissent, drawing harsh condemnation from international rights groups.

The kingdom has for six years witnessed sporadic unrest as protestors continue to demand political reform.

Hundreds of Bahrainis have been arrested in connection with the protests, while some high-profile activists also face charges for publicly criticising authorities, including via social media.

The kingdom has revoked the citizenship of a number of activists, including leading opposition cleric Sheikh Issa Qassem, and Bahrain’s main and largest opposition party, al-Wefaq has been dissolved.