Bahraini Court Reduces Sentences for 15 Protesters
A civilian appeals court in Bahrain reduced the sentences of 15 protesters convicted last year in a much-criticized military court. The protesters had been charged with attempted murder of a police officer and been sentenced to 15 years in prison. The new court dropped all charges for 4 of the 15, and lowered sentences for the remaining 11 to between 6 months and two years.
Meanwhile the country’s leading opposition party, al-Wefaq, while meeting with the minister of justice, demanded a more serious dialogue with the government. The delegation of opposition members met with the minister to discuss issues of political association and to complain of police violence against protesters. State news agency BNA reported that the justice minister called on “all parties to renounce violence,” echoing earlier government statements last week that rejected bilateral talks with the opposition because of violence.
Also, Amnesty International issued a statement demanding the release of 13 Bahraini opposition activists whose appeal decisions are due out next week. In condemning the prisoner’s convictions as “a travesty of justice,” the statement urges the government to use the appeals trial to show their promised commitment to reform, while also calling for an investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment.