Bahrain jails six for terror plot
Manama, May 28, 2012
Six Bahrainis have been jailed for 15 years each for being part of an Iran-backed terrorist cell planning attacks in Bahrain.
They were also convicted of seeking to overthrow the government, suspend the Constitution and encroach on individual freedoms and rights by High Criminal Court yesterday (May 27).
It is believed they planned attacks on targets in Bahrain, including King Fahad Causeway, the Saudi Embassy and the Interior Ministry.
Three of them are still at large and were sentenced in absentia, including alleged masterminds Ali Mushaima and Abdulraouf Al Shayeb.
The convicted men, who confessed to the charges during initial questioning, caused chaos in court yesterday after the judge read out the verdict, shouting political slogans and police were forced to escort them out of the courtroom.
Two others, a 27-year-old and a 25-year-old bus driver were acquitted of the charges after their defence team successfully argued that they were not involved in the terror cell.
They had denied sneaking into Saudi Arabia and then heading to Qatar to meet two of their co-defendants.
'The court found the two men innocent after it believed they just drove two of the defendants from Saudi Arabia to the Qatari borders,' said the court.
'The defendants who entered Saudi Arabia illegally from Bahrain were helped into Saudi Arabia by another man who was found guilty. The court also believes that the defendants confessed under no mental or physical pressure and were given 15 years in prison after the court used sympathy.'
Defence lawyers earlier requested judges to throw out the case, arguing it was unconstitutional as the country's law is unclear with regard to terror cases.
Four of the defendants are said to have been arrested in Qatar before being handed over to Bahrain's security services, while the fifth was later arrested in Bahrain. They were reportedly on their way to Iran to receive training in explosives and firearms.
One of the defendants received BD3,000 ($7,961) from Iran's Basij militia group to support the cell, according to case files.
A 30-year-old man convicted is alleged to be one of the ringleaders. It is believed the masterminds financed another suspect, who is also at large, to receive weapons training from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Investigators earlier said the men were part of a cell that recruited Shi'ite Bahrainis for sabotage training in Iran. They were handed over to Bahraini authorities on November 4.
A senior policeman earlier stated phone records were available showing the men had communicated with the head of the Iran-backed terror cell based in the UK. – TradeArabia News Service