Bahrain sentences Shiite to death, jails 22 from 'terror group'

Dubai (AFP) –


A Bahraini court Thursday sentenced a Shiite citizen to death and jailed 22 others for life for forming a "terrorist group" that killed two people, including a policeman.

It is the second such ruling this week in the tiny Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom, where members of the Shiite majority population have led an uprising.

The court also revoked the citizenships of the 23 convicts and fined two of them 200,000 dinars ($530,000/480,000 euros), terror crime prosecution chief Ahmed al-Hammadi said in a statement.

Judicial sources said that all the defendants were Shiite and that 16 were tried in absentia, without giving further details.

Hammadi said members of the group were convicted of carrying out bombings in two Shiite villages in early December last year.

One of the bombings in Damistan village killed a Jordanian policeman who was working in the Gulf kingdom under a security and training exchange agreement.

The second bombing took place the next day in the nearby village of Karzakan, killing an elderly Bahraini man.

Both bombings were carried out by the same "terrorist group" formed by the defendants and "specialised in making explosives to target policemen," Hammadi said.

On Tuesday, Bahrain handed down sentences ranging from five years to life in prison to 29 people convicted of attempting to murder policemen in a bomb attack later in December last year.

Attacks against police are common in Bahrain, a Western ally and home to the US Fifth Fleet that lies across the Persian Gulf from Iran.

The kingdom has been rocked by the Shiite-led uprising since February 2011, with demands ranging from a constitutional monarchy to overthrowing the ruling Sunni dynasty altogether.

Scores of opponents have been detained, with many facing trial, while others convicted of involvement in violence have been handed heavy sentences, including loss of citizenship and life in prison.