Shi'ite opposition leaders said the prosecution based its case on
confessions taken from suspects under torture. They said authorities
rejected a request for the defendants to be examined for marks of abuse by
Fleifel said the defendants would be allowed to appeal their sentences
in front of a civilian court. The National Safety Court was established to
handle the hundreds of people charged with participating in the Shi'ite
revolt, in which up to 30 people were killed.
On Oct. 3, a special security court ordered 36 Shi'ites to serve terms
of up to 25 years each. Of the defendants, 14 were sentenced by the
so-called National Safety Court to life on conviction of killing a Pakistani
national. Pakistanis comprise a major portion of Bahrain's military and
"They held people hostage in building S20 and set it on fire with the
aim of killing those on the upper floor," the official Bahrain News Agency
Earlier, the security court sentenced much of the Shi'ite opposition
leadership in connection with the unrest in March and April. Those
sentenced included Hassan Mashaima, head of the Shi'ite opposition Haq
movement, and Abdul Wahab Hussein, chairman of the Shi'ite movement Wafa.
Some of the Shi'ites have launched a hunger strike to protest their
Almost all of the defendants were identified as Shi'ites, who comprise
the majority in Bahrain. The exception was the Sunni leader of the Waed
movement, which helped organize pro-democracy demonstrations.