Some relatives of the defendants waiting
outside the court to hear the final appeal ruling
Bahrain upholds sentences of 13 coup plotters
Manama, January 8, 2013
Bahrain's highest court yesterday upheld the sentences of 13 men convicted of being part of a foreign-backed coup, a report said.
They were among 21 opposition figures found guilty of espionage, trying to forcibly overthrow the monarchy, violating the constitution and having ties to a terrorist organisation, according to the report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
The Cassation Court ruling brought to an end one of the biggest legal cases in Bahrain's history, which lasted 18 months.
Seven of the men convicted were earlier jailed for life, four for 15 years and two for five years. Another was freed last May based on time already served after his two-year sentence was earlier reduced to six months on appeal.
Seven other men, convicted in absentia, are still on the run.
Yesterday's decision upheld the verdict given by Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Appeals Court in May last year.
The sentences were originally handed down by the National Safety Court.
Security was tight for yesterday's hearing with dozens of riot police surrounding the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry complex and armoured vehicles on standby.
Relatives of the defendants and Al Wefaq secretary-general Shaikh Ali Salman were among those present outside the court.
Six of the men convicted were earlier found to have established intelligence contacts with a foreign country to carry out hostile acts in Bahrain.
It is understood, they had links with Hizbollah and Iran, but two others - clergyman Mohammed Al Saffaf (also known as Al Meqdad) and Abdulla Al Mahroos - were earlier acquitted of the charge, according to the report.
Salah Al Khawaja was also cleared of inciting others to overthrow the government.
It was earlier claimed Al Saffaf took part in a Hizbollah war against Israel in 2006 and was due to welcome 40 warships Iran was planning to send to Bahrain to support an attempted coup.
The seven men serving life sentences were Abdulwahab Hussain Ahmed, Hassan Mushaima, Mohammed Habib, Abduljalil Redha, Abduljalil Singace, Saeed Mirza and Abdulhadi Al Khawaja.
Abdulhadi Mehdi, Abdulla Al Mahroos, Mohammed Jawad and Mohammed Ismael were all jailed for 15 years, while Salah Al Khawaja and National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) secretary-general Ibrahim Sharif for five years. Al Har Yusuf Mohammed Al Sumaikh was freed based on time served. – TradeArabia News Service