Bahrain jails nine over police petrol bomb attack
Bahrain has imprisoned nine people from the country's Shia majority - including a minor and a relative of a prominent London-based activist - on charges of throwing petrol bombs at police.
The court sentenced eight defendants to seven years in prison on Monday after convicting them of attacking a police patrol with Molotov cocktails in the southern village of Aley, a judicial source said.
The ninth, a minor, was sentenced to three years.
The court transcript did not give the names of any of the defendants but the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy named one of them as Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, 19, a relative of its London-based head of advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.
Sayed Ahmed said lawyers had confirmed to him that his young relative, who is already serving a three-year jail sentence on the charge of planting a fake bomb, was among those convicted.
Sayed Nizar's mother, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, was also jailed for three years in the fake bomb case, which has drawn heavy criticism from international human rights groups who have questioned whether it had any basis.
Hassan ended her second hunger strike in prison this week.
The kingdom's Sunni rulers have cracked down heavily on all displays of dissent ever since they bloodily suppressed mass protests led by the Shia majority in 2011 for a constitutional minority with an elected prime minister.
Amnesty International has called the jail sentences "a reprisal" for the work of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.
Washington has criticised Bahrain's crackdown and called for moves towards dialogue with the Shia-led opposition.
The tiny island kingdom just across the Gulf from Iran is a strategic ally and provides the home base of the US Fifth Fleet.
Bahrain says it is the victim of a campaign of violence orchestrated by Shia Iran and aimed at overthrowing its constitutional government.