February 26, 2015 / 10:26 AM / 5 years ago

Bahrain sentences three men to death for killing policeman

MANAMA (Reuters) - Three Shi’ite Muslim men were sentenced to death by a Bahrain court on Thursday and seven others were given a life term for killing three policeman, the kingdom’s Public Prosecution said on its Twitter account.

The ruling is the latest in a series of strict penalties handed down to those accused of seeking to destabilize the Western-allied kingdom.

Sporadic protests and occasional bomb attacks have shaken Bahrain since the Sunni Muslim-led government quelled mass protests in 2011 led by members of the Shi’ite majority demanding reforms.

The men were found guilty of killing three policemen last March, including Lieutenant Tareq Mohammed al-Shehhi from the neighboring United Arab Emirates.

“Three defendants were sentenced to death and life imprisonment (was handed down) for the remaining accused,” the public prosecution said on its Twitter account, adding that a number the men will be stripped of their nationality.

Bahrain crushed demonstrations that began on Feb. 14, 2011, amid the protest wave sweeping other Arab countries, but it has yet to resolve the conflict between majority Shi’ites and the Sunni-led monarchy they accuse of oppressing them.

In 2011, Saudi Arabia and the UAE sent forces to support Bahrain’s rulers and confront the protests.

Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based, has accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the country, a charge Tehran denies.

Reporting by Farishta Saeed and Omar Fahmy; Editing by Noah Browning and Alison Williams

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