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Middle East

Bahrain special court jails 36 for up to 25 years

media A protest held by Bahrain's main opposition party, al-Wafaq, at Budaiya, … Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

In Bahrain 36 Shia-Muslims have been sentenced to up to 25 years in jail each in three separate cases arising from pro-reform demonstrations, in the latest heavy sentences handed out by a mixed military-civilian tribunal.

The National Safety Court, set up by Sunni-Muslim King Hahmad al-Khalifa, sentenced 14 Shia to life - 25 years in prison – after finding them guilty of murdering a Pakistani with “terrorist” intent and assembling in order to riot.

Fifteen were jailed for 15 years for attempting to murder military personnel, taking part in protests and vandalism at Bahrain University, a court official told the BNA official news agency.

One student was jailed for 18 years and six others to 15 for “"holding people hostage in [Bahrain University’s] building S20 and setting it on fire with the aim of killing those in the upper floor" in addition to damaging the building and stealing computers, BNA said.

They were also fined 349,300 dinars (696,362 euros) collectively.

After the sentences, former opposition MP Matar Matar claimed that those convicted of killing the Pakistani had confessed under torture.

The defendants will be able to appeal against their sentences before civil courts, officials say.

The 20 healthworkers given hefty sentences on Thursday will appeal to a civil court on 23 October, chief prosecutor Abdulrahman al-Sayyed said in a statement carried overnight by BNA.

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