Bahrain gives back citizenship of 92 Shia dissidents, upholds their jail terms
Story Code : 802592
On Sunday, the Court of Cassation, Bahrain’s highest court, “overturned the decision to strip the 92 people of their citizenship,” AFP quoted an unnamed judicial source as saying.
In April, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court sentenced 138 people to prison terms of various lengths and stripped them of their Bahraini citizenship over the charges of purportedly forming a “terror cell.”
Back then, the court sentenced 69 defendants to life imprisonment, 39 to 10 years, 23 to seven years, one to five years, and six to three years.
The Bahraini opposition lambasted the verdict at the time, and Amnesty International decried it as a “mockery of justice” and an instance of “mass arbitrary denaturalization.”
The 92 defendants who regained their citizenship on Sunday were among the 138 individuals, and according to the source, only the decision on revoking their citizenship has been overturned “but their prison terms remain the same.”
The source further said that 96 of the defendants were also fined 100,000 Bahraini dinars (265,000 dollars) each, adding that the Court of Cassation would issue a final verdict. But the timing of that decision was not clear.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in the tiny Persian Gulf country on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began there in mid-February 2011.
People have been demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown. The regime has also been routinely revoking the citizenship of dissidents.