Bahrain hunger striker gets three years over 'bomb'

Hajar Mansoor Hassan, her son and nephew were charged under the Gulf state's counter-terrorism law
By AFP
Mon 30 Oct 2017 03:05 PM

A detainee at a Bahraini women's prison who has refused food to demand better conditions was sentenced to three years along with her son and nephew Monday, a rights group said.

Hajar Mansoor Hassan, her son Sayed Nizar Alwadaei and nephew Mahmood Marzouq were charged under the Gulf state's counter-terrorism law with planting a fake bomb, the Bahrain Institute for Human Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said in a statement.

Marzouq was also sentenced to six weeks and fined 100 Bahraini dinars ($265, 225 euros) for possessing a knife, according to BIRD. They were not in court for the sentencing.

Hajar Mansoor Hassan is the mother-in-law of the rights group's director of advocacy. All three have been in custody since March.

Hassan was one of five women who last week went on hunger strike for six days in protest at the mistreatment of detainees at the Isa Town women's detention facility.

Authorities have since agreed to their demands, which include clean sheets, privacy during phone calls to family and removal of a glass barrier during family visits.

The trial has come under international scrutiny as a case of possible retribution because of BIRD's activities.

In a report published on March 27, a group of UN special rapporteurs said there was evidence that Bahraini interrogators had threatened Alwadaei "to take revenge on him" because of the rights group's work.

On October 26, 15 non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, issued an open letter to the governments of Canada, France, Britain and the United States, among others.

The letter asked that the governments demand that the authorities in Bahrain drop all charges and release the three.

Bahrain - a key ally of the US which bases its Fifth Fleet there - has cracked down on political dissent since a wave of protests began in 2011 demanding an elected government in the Shiite-majority country.

Hundreds of protesters have since been jailed and number of high-profile activists and clerics stripped of their citizenship.

In April, parliament gave approval for military courts to try civilians charged with "terrorism", a vaguely defined legal term in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Bahrain accuses Shiite Iran of training "terrorist cells" that aim to overthrow its government, an allegation Tehran denies.

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