Bahrain military court sentences anti-government activists to life
A military court in Bahrain sentenced seven activists to life in prison, finding them guilty of charges of "plotting to topple the government," the Bahraini state news agency reported on Wednesday.
Seven others received sentences ranging from two to 15 years in prison. The court also handed out 15-year sentences to another seven defendants in absentia, DPA reported.
International rights groups have condemned Bahrain for trying civilians in military courts, which often issue excessively harsh sentences, in the wake of widespread protests earlier this year.
Defendants are often denied access to their legal council, and are sometimes not even present in the courtroom during trial proceedings.
Four protesters accused of killing two policemen were sentenced to death in April. The sentences of two of the men were later reduced to life in prison.
The government responded to demonstrations calling for greater freedoms and reforms with violence, arrests, and a temporary emergency law in March.
At least 24 people were killed during the unrest, according to the government. Thousands of people were arrested, and many were fired from their jobs for participating in the protests.