Bahrain: Appeals Court Upholds Life Imprisonment for Opposition Leaders

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

Bahrain's High Court of Appeals upheld jail sentences against 20 opposition figures accused of plotting to overthrow the regime today [September 4, 2012]. While international human rights organisations describes them as “prisoners of conscience,” Bahraini authorities and the local Press call them “terrorists” for their role in anti-government protests, which started in Bahrain on February 14, 2011.

Eight of them have been slapped with life in prison; the rest have been given jail sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

Supporters called the trial a sham, rejecting its ruling and pledging to continue with anti-government demonstrations.

Former member of parliament and member of the opposition Al Wefaq Society (the forming of political parties is banned in Bahrain) Abduljalil Khalil tweets [ar]:

محكمة التمييز كانت أبطلت تهمة تشكيل التنظيم وقلب النظام لعدم وجود أدلة واليوم تأتي محكمة الاستئناف تؤيد أحكام المحكمة العسكرية!
@AJalilKhalil: The Court of Cassation had dropped the charges of forming a group and over throwing the regime for lack of evidence. Today, the High Court of Appeals upholds the verdicts of the Military Court!

Ala'a Shehabi was trying to attend the trial. She tweets:

@alaashehabi: None of the families were allowed in & lawyers coming out of court are saying that some charges were dropped but prison sentences upheld

She adds:

@alaashehabi: Upholding sentences proves absolutely no difference betwn military justice & this so called ‘civilian’ justice.Same mentality rules #bahrain

Director of Human Rights Defenders Program at Human Rights First Brian Dooley asks:

@dooley_dooley: ‘…you can't have a real dialogue with parts of the peaceful opposition in jail,’ Obama told #Bahrain in May 2011. What's he saying today?

In another tweet, he remarks:

@dooley_dooley: The verdicts on the 13 confirm #Bahrain's reform process is a hoax. Where is the int. community now?

Sabeeka Al Shamlan plays with words:

القضاء بالعدل أو القضاء على العدل
@Sabeeka_A: Ruling with justice or ruling out justice?

And Salma says:

قلة العقل مصيبة يالبحرين..

The lack of intellect is a catastrophe in Bahrain

Meanwhile, Zohoor claims that the verdict was announced by the Bahrain News Agency even before the judge pronounced his decision. She tweets:

@sudaif3: Biggest farce verdicts announced by the Bahrain News Agency before being pronounced by the judge!#BhDecisionDay #FreeBhLeaders

And, from Egypt, Tarek Shalaby offers solidarity:

: Solidarity with our brothers and sisters in #Bahrain suffering from the brutal, sectarian monarchy overlooked by Saudi. Power to the people.

This post is part of our special coverage of Bahrain Protests 2011.

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