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AP: First Executions in Bahrain since the 2011 Arab Spring-Inspired Uprising

2017-01-15 - 6:30 p

Bahrain Mirror (AP): Bahraini authorities put to death three men found guilty of a deadly attack on police on Sunday, the kingdom's first executions since an Arab Spring-inspired uprising rocked the country in 2011.

The public prosecution said the death sentences were carried out by firing squad early in the day. The executions were the first in the U.S.-allied nation since 2010 and followed a spike in protests in solidarity with the convicted men and clashes between activists and police the previous day.

Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Signace were found guilty in 2015 of killing two Bahraini and an Emirati policeman in a 2014 bomb attack. Their death sentences were upheld by a Bahraini court last week.

Bahrain is a tiny island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the waters around the Arabian Peninsula and is the naval counterweight to nearby Iran.

Government forces crushed the 2011 uprising with help from allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but the country continues to face low-level unrest led by a majority Shiite population that feels marginalized by the Sunni monarchy.

Bahrain's last execution was of a Bangladeshi man in 2010, though a number of death sentences have been issued since then.

Government opponents see Sunday's executions as politically motivated, leading hundreds to take to the streets Saturday in solidarity with the condemned men as rumors spread that their executions were imminent.

Images shared on social media showed some activists blocking roads with burning debris and hurling petrol bombs in clashes with police.

One police officer was injured when several people shot at a police patrol in Bani Jamra, west of the capital Manama, the Interior Ministry said Sunday. It gave no further details.

The Ashtar Brigade, a Shiite militant group that analysts say has claimed some 20 bombings in Bahrain since 2013, claimed responsibility for the attack on the police officer on social media. The Associated Press could not immediately verify the post, though it came in a forum often used by the group.

"We announce through this statement that all options are open and all targets are monitored," the group said.



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