Bahrain Crackdown: Court Reverses Decision to Strip 92 Citizenships
By Staff, Agencies
A Bahraini appeals court overturned a decision to strip the citizenship of 92 jailed Shia nationals, a judicial source said Sunday.
The 92 citizens were among 138 sentenced to prison terms and the revocation of their citizenship after being allegedly convicted of trying to build a Bahraini version of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group.
"The appeals court overturned the decision to strip the 92 people of their citizenship," a judicial source told AFP.
"But their prison terms remain the same," the source added.
The Court of Cassation, Bahrain's highest court, will issue a final verdict, but the timing of that decision is yet unknown.
In April's court ruling, the prosecutor said 69 defendants were sentenced to life in jail, 39 to 10 years, 23 to seven years and the rest to between three and five years imprisonment.
Ninety-six of the defendants were also fined 100,000 Bahraini dinars [$265,000] each.
The verdict was swiftly condemned by the Bahraini opposition, while human rights group Amnesty International decried a "mockery of justice" and "mass arbitrary denaturalization."
The opposition Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy [BIRD] said the mass sentencing was "the largest single incident" since the Bahraini government began revoking nationalities of opposition members in 2012.
Since 2012, Manama has stripped the nationalities of 990 people, including 180 this year, the institute added.
All opposition groups in the country have been banned and disbanded since 2011.