Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bahrain: Jail sentences not stop Bahrain uprising, says convicted protester

London, June 23, IRNA – One of opposition figures sentenced by a military court in Bahrain said on Wednesday that the jail terms will not stop the pro-democracy campaign in the Persian Gulf states

“There will be no change. The protests will continue calling for democracy and freedom,” said Abbas Omran, a member of the Bahrain Human Rights Society based in London, who was sentenced for 15 years in absentia.

In an interview with IRNA, Omran described the convictions as “politically motivated” and reflecting the “revenge of the regime” against the three-and-a-half months of protests in Bahrain.

Altogether 21 opposition figures were sentenced by the military court in Manama, including eight given life sentences, 10 receiving 15-year terms, two others sentenced to five years and one given two years.

Seven people were sentenced in absentia, three of whom are believed to be in hiding in Bahrain and four in the UK, including Saeed Shahabi, who was given a life term.

“They tried to paint the opposition with charges that are not true,” Omran said, adding that the sentences were “very high and did not reflect the cases.”

“There was no criminal evidence in the military trials, only statements obtained by force and torture from the detainees,” he said.

Bahrain's use of military courts against civilian have already been condemned for violating basic rights by civil liberty organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Omran suggested that the alleged accusations of a so-called plot to overthrow the regime by force and outside agents were only used as an excuse for the military courts.

The military courts were used by Egypt and by other Arab countries against protesters but they “did not prevent the uprisings,” he said.

Note: Source for this story is Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA. As with any sensitive issue, the source should be taken into consideration