Silver Lining

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Teens sentenced for 15 years in Bahrain, US urges dialogue

(File photo)

Moqawama

A defense lawyer in Bahrain confirmed that five teenagers are among a group sentenced up to 15 years in prison for attacks on police during anti-government demonstrations.

The convictions Thursday raised fresh objections from rights groups that have already complained about Bahrain’s failure to use more lenient juvenile laws in trying other young suspects.

Lawyer Zahra Masoud said the court sentenced three teens – 16 and 17 years old – and one 20-year-old to sentences up to 15 years for attempting to attack a police car with homemade firebombs.
Two others, aged 15 and 16, were sentenced in absentia.

Meanwhile, Bahraini police clashed with demonstrators protesting against the ruling al-Khalifa regime near the capital Manama. The forces fired teargas and sound grenades at the demonstrators, who shouted slogans against the government and called for its downfall.

On the political level, United States urged Bahrain’s government to promote dialogue with the opposition after two years of political upheaval in the country.

US Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Rashad Hussain, met senior Bahraini government officials, political leaders, civil society activists and religious leaders in Manama earlier this week.

“He underscored US encouragement for all segments of Bahraini society to promote unity and reform through the ongoing National Dialogue,” the State Department said in a statement.

“He discussed the importance of rejecting the use of violence and promoting human rights, including religious freedom, for all Bahrainis.”

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