Activist: Bahrain sentences 50 for militant links

AP News
Posted: Sep 29, 2013 12:31 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A Bahrain court sentenced 50 people Sunday to prison terms of between five and 15 years after a mass trial for alleged links to a militant group blamed for bombings and other anti-government attacks in the Gulf nation, a rights activist said.

The convictions mark the broadest blow yet to suspected backers of the February 14 faction, named after the date in 2011 that an uprising began by Bahrain's Shiite majority seeking greater political rights from Sunni rulers.

The verdicts could stir more unrest in the strategic kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

The main Shiite opposition party Al Wefaq called it a "black day for justice." Officials had no immediate comment on the court's decision.

Mohamed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said 20 suspects were convicted in absentia. Charges included seeking to topple the ruling system.

Thousands of people have been arrested in Bahrain's crackdowns.