Last updated: 11 December, 2013

Bahrain jails 12 Shiites for torching car warehouse

A Bahraini court on Wednesday sentenced 12 Shiite Muslims to 15-year jail terms for attacking a car warehouse during unrest in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a judicial source said.

The 12 men were found guilty of setting fire to the warehouse in a mostly Shiite area near the capital Manama in February 2012.

The court also accused the men of taking part in an unauthorised demonstration and possessing Molotov cocktails, and handed the group a fine totalling 383,000 dinars ($1 million, 700,000 euros) for the 59 cars damaged in the warehouse.

Another defendant was cleared of the charges in the case.

Lawyers for the defendants rejected the charges, saying their clients had made their confessions “under torture,” the judicial source added.

Security forces crushed a Shiite-led uprising demanding democratic reforms in Sunni-ruled but Shiite-majority Bahrain in March 2011.

But sporadic protests have broken out across the island since then and authorities have banned demonstrations in Manama.

At least 89 people have been killed since the protests began, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.