News / Middle East

Bahraini Court Hears Appeals of 21 Activists

Hassan Mushaima, a Bahraini rights activist and a prominent Shi'ite opposition leader, wears a mask against tear gas as he is greeted by an anti-government demonstrator at Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, March 13, 2011. A court sentenced eight Shi'it
Hassan Mushaima, a Bahraini rights activist and a prominent Shi'ite opposition leader, wears a mask against tear gas as he is greeted by an anti-government demonstrator at Pearl roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, March 13, 2011. A court sentenced eight Shi'it

An appeals court in Bahrain hearing the case of 21 activists convicted of plotting to overthrow the government says it will announce its verdict at the end of September.

Fourteen of the activists appeared in front of the Bahraini security court Tuesday. The court heard their appeals and adjourned until September 28.

In June, the court sentenced eight Shi'ite activists to life in prison while 13 others were given shorter prison terms.  

Two of those sentenced to life in prison started a hunger strike last week. Seven activists are on the run and were sentenced in absentia.

The ruling al-Khalifa family imposed emergency rule as part of a violent crackdown on mass opposition protests in February and March. Bahrain's government crushed the uprising with help from neighboring Sunni states and arrested scores of people. At least 30 people were killed.

Bahraini Shi'ites complain of discrimination by the ruling al-Khalifa family. They also have been protesting for a greater say in the affairs of the island state.

Bahrain's government began a national dialogue with the opposition on political reforms in July, but Shi'ite politicians walked out, accusing the ruling family of not being committed to real change.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, and AFP..

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