Bahrain woman, relatives get three years for 'fake bomb'

Bahrain woman, relatives get three years for 'fake bomb'
2 min read
30 October, 2017
Hajar Mansoor Hassan, 49, her son Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, 18, and nephew Mahmood Marzouq, 30, were charged under Bahrain's counter-terrorism law with planting a fake bomb.
Bahrain cracked down on political dissent since a wave of protests began in 2011 [AFP]
A Bahraini woman was sentenced to three years in prison, along with her son and nephew, on Monday for planting a "fake bomb" in what Amnesty International has called a reprisal case.

Hajar Mansoor Hassan, 49, her son Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, 18, and nephew Mahmood Marzouq, 30, were charged under the Gulf state's counter-terrorism law with planting a fake bomb, the London-based Bahrain Institute for Human Rights and Democracy (BIRD) said in a statement.

The case has come under international scrutiny over both the validity of the charges and the trial procedures. 

Amnesty International tweeted that Monday's sentencing was "a reprisal" for the work of the London-based BIRD's director of advocacy, who is also Hassan's son-in-law.

Marzouq was also sentenced to six weeks and fined 100 Bahraini dinars ($265, 225 euros) for possessing a knife, according to BIRD.

All three have been in custody since March and were not in court for the sentencing.

In a report published on March 27, a group of UN special rapporteurs said there was evidence that Bahraini interrogators had threatened Alwadaei "to take revenge on him" over BIRD's Bahraini director.

On October 26, 15 non-governmental organisations, including Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders, issued an open letter to the governments of Canada, France, Britain and the United States, among others.

The letter asked that the governments demand that the authorities in Bahrain drop all charges and release the three.

Hajar Mansoor Hassan was one of five women who last week went on hunger strike for six days in protest at the mistreatment of detainees at the Isa Town women's detention facility.

Authorities have since agreed to their demands, which include clean sheets, privacy during phone calls to family and removal of a glass barrier during family visits.

Bahrain - a key ally of the US which bases its Fifth Fleet there - has cracked down on political dissent since a wave of protests began in 2011 demanding an elected government in the Shia-majority country.

Hundreds of protesters have since been jailed and number of high-profile activists and clerics stripped of their citizenship.

In April, parliament gave approval for military courts to try civilians charged with "terrorism", a vaguely defined legal term in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Bahrain accuses Shia Iran of training "terrorist cells" that aim to overthrow its government, an allegation Tehran denies.