Last updated: 30 September, 2012

Bahrain court cuts sentence of Shiite athletes

A Bahraini court on Sunday reduced jail sentences for three Shiite athletes who took part in a Arab Spring-inspired uprising last year to one year from 15 years, their lawyers said.

The handball players were part of a group of 32 people accused of setting fire to a farm belonging to a member of Bahrain’s royal family in a Shiite village near Manama during the protests in February 2011.

The athletes — Mohammed Mirza, his brother Ali Mirza and Mohammed Jawad — had been sentenced to 15 years in prison by the quasi military court set up in the aftermath of the brutal government crackdown on the Shiite-led protests.

They are expected to be released shortly, their lawyers said.

Bahrain has continued to witness sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, mostly outside the capital, since it crushed the protest movement in March 2011.

London-based rights watchdog Amnesty International says about 60 people have been killed in protest-related unrest since the demonstrations first erupted.