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Bahrain Executes 3 Shiites Convicted in Deadly Attack on Police
Bahrain executed by firing squad on Sunday three Shiite men convicted of killing three police officers in a bombing in 2014.
The executions were condemned by human rights groups, which said the men had been convicted in unfair trials based on evidence allegedly obtained through torture.
"These executions were as inflammatory as they were unjust," said Nicholas McGeehan, senior Bahrain researcher for Human Rights Watch, which opposes the death penalty. "These men's convictions were based on retracted confessions and mired in allegations of serious torture."
The island kingdom of Bahrain, off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, is a longstanding ally of the United States and hosts the Navy's Fifth Fleet.
Since an uprising by the country's Shiite majority against its Sunni rulers in 2011 was put down with military help from Saudi Arabia, the Bahraini government has put many Shiite leaders and activists on trial and revoked their citizenship.
Sporadic protests against the government have continued, along with occasional violent attacks on the security services.
Sunday's executions of Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Singace followed their convictions on charges of involvement in a militant group accused of carrying out a bombing in 2014 that killed two Bahraini police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates.
A Bahraini court in 2015 found 10 men guilty in the case. Three were sentenced to death and seven given life in prison, and eight of the 10 had their citizenship revoked, according to Amnesty International.
Some of the men said that during their interrogations, they did not have access to their families or to lawyers and were subjected to abuse, including electric shocks, beatings and cigarette burns, Amnesty International said.
The Bahraini authorities have denied mistreating inmates, and a Bahraini court upheld the sentences last week.
Protests broke out on Saturday after the condemned men's families were summoned to the prison, usually a sign that executions are imminent, and continued on Sunday after the bodies were carried out.
The three men were the first to be executed in Bahrain since 2010, and the first Bahrainis to be executed since 1996, according to the rights group Reprieve, based in Britain, although their citizenship was revoked before they were put to death.
[Source: By Ben Hubbard, The New York Times, Beirut, 15Jan17]
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