Bahrain to put police officers on trial over unrest

Public prosecutor says two accused of beating detainees to death; trial to start on Jan 11
Bahrain to put police officers on trial over unrest
Flashback to Bahrain political uprising in February
By Reuters
Fri 30 Dec 2011 10:21 AM

Bahrain, under pressure to clean up its human rights record, has said it will try five police officers over the deaths of two people in custody during unrest this year.

At least four people died in detention after Bahrain introduced a period of martial law to crush mass protests demanding democratic reforms in February and March.

A statement on the official BNA news agency, citing the public prosecutor, said two of the police officers beat two detainees to death and the other three officers failed to report the incident to authorities. It said the trial would begin on January 11.

Bahrain, whose Sunni royal family rules over a mainly Shi'ite population, said in November it was prosecuting 20 officers over abuses.

An independent inquiry released a report in November that talked of systematic abuse of detainees and listed forms of abuse and torture that many suffered.

The government has promised to implement the report's recommendations, which the US Congress has linked to its approval of a $53m arms sale to Manama, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

The island's banking and tourism sectors have been hit by continuing unrest as protesters in Shi'ite villages clash with riot police on a daily basis. Opposition groups want an end to the ruling al-Khalifa family's domination of government.

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