Bahrain court jails, strips 3 of citizenship for 'terrorism'

Trio found guilty of forming a terrorist cell and receiving Iranian funding aimed at destabilising Bahrain
Bahrain court jails, strips 3 of citizenship for 'terrorism'
Thu 30 Mar 2017 05:04 PM

A Bahraini court on Thursday sentenced three Shiite Muslims to jail and stripped them of their citizenship over terrorism-related charges, as the Gulf kingdom toughens its stance against dissent.

One of the defendants was jailed for 15 years while the two others were sentenced to 10 years in prison each, said a judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The three were found guilty of forming a terrorist cell and receiving Iranian funding aimed at destabilising Bahrain, the source said.

They were also convicted of training with the Iraq's Ketaeb Hezbollah, one of the main groups in that country's Hashed al-Shaabi umbrella organisation.

Since the outbreak of protests in Bahrain, Sunni authorities have accused Shiite Iran of mobilising anti-government protests among the country's majority Shiite population. Iran has consistently denied involvement.

Thursday's trial came a day after two Shiites were handed the death sentence and 20 others jailed in connection with a 2015 bombing that killed two police officers in Sitra, south of the capital Manama.

A Bahraini court last week sentenced three people to death over another string of bombings that targeted police patrols in the majority-Shiite village of Kurayat, west of Manama.

Ruled for two centuries by the Al-Khalifa dynasty, Bahrain has increasingly tightened its grip on dissent in the country, which lies across the Gulf from Iran and is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, including high-profile activists who have been charged with publicly insulting authorities via social media.

Authorities have also stripped opposition leaders and religious clerics of citizenship and banned opposition groups in the country.

Al-Wefaq, Bahrain's main Shiite opposition group, was dissolved by court order in late 2016.

The justice ministry this month filed a lawsuit to dissolve the National Democratic Action Society (Waad), the country's main secular opposition party.

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