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Manama upholds jail sentences on opposition

MANAMA: Bahrain’s highest court upheld yesterday jail sentences against 20 opposition figure, including eight sentenced to life in prison.
Defense attorney Jalil Al-Aradi said the court refused to reconsider the sentences or convictions, which were originally handed down in 2011 by a military-led tribunal.
Among the eight sentenced to life is rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, who staged a more than three-month hunger strike last year in protest. The other 12 have sentences ranging from five to 15 years, with seven convicted in absentia.
Last year, the official Bahrain News Agency said the charges include “plotting to overthrow the regime” and having “foreign intelligence contacts” — a reference to neighboring Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon. Bahraini leaders have accused Iran of having links to the protesters.
A government statement at the time said the court “provided all assurances of a fair trial” and allowed defense attorneys full access to the defendants. It also said they received “full medical care” in prison.

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