Bahrain strips 115 of nationality over 'terrorism' allegations

Bahrain strips 115 of nationality over 'terrorism' allegations
2 min read
Activists said the sentencing raised the number of those who have lost their citizenship since 2012 to over 700.
Over 700 people in Bahrain have had their citizenship revoked since 2012. [Getty]

A court in Bahrain on Tuesday sentenced 115 Bahrainis to jail terms ranging from three years to life and stripped them of their nationality, amid a years' long crackdown on dissent in the island kingdom

Bahrain's public prosecution said the case involved a little-known militant group it identified as the "Zulfiqar Brigades", whose mass arrests authorities previously announced in 2016.

Prosecutors said those accused built and detonated bombs, received weapons training and plotted to kill police officers in Bahrain, an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

A statement from prosecutors said 53 defendants received life sentences, while dozens of others faced prison time. It said 23 defendants were acquitted.

Bahraini officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment for more information.

The defendants were all members of Bahrain's Shia majority community.

Activists said the sentencing raised the number of those who have lost their citizenship since 2012 to over 700.

"This outrageously harsh sentence is setting a new level of injustice in Bahrain," said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

"Rendering people stateless in a mass trial is a clear violation of international law."

Sunni-ruled, Shia-majority Bahrain has stripped hundreds of its citizens of their nationality and jailed dozens of high-profile activists and clerics since protests demanding an elected government erupted in early 2011.

The Bahraini government has accused Shia Iran of backing the protests and attempting to overthrow the government. Tehran denies involvement.