Bahrain’s high criminal court sentenced 139 people to prison for forming “terrorist cells” in the country with support from Iran, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
A total of 169 defendants were charged with “forming, establishing and joining a terror group, detonating explosives, attempted murder, illegal handling, possessing and using unlicenced firearms, making explosive devices, funding a terror organisation, concealing weapons, ammunitions and explosives, causing explosions and damaging private and public properties”, the report said.
The court on Tuesday sentenced 69 of the accused to life in prison, 39 to 10 years, 23 to seven years, one to five years and seven to three years, public prosecutor Ahmed Al Hammadi said. He confirmed that 30 suspects were acquitted.
The court also ordered 96 of them to pay BD100,000 ($265,957) each, 12 to pay BD500 ($1,329) each, and one defendant to pay BD231.8 ($616) in consideration for the value of damages.
The nationality of 138 defendants was also revoked, the report added.
The public prosecution said it had received a report from the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) about the formation of a terrorist cell in Bahrain “funded by, and at the behest of Iranian regime leaders” to carry out “acts of terrorism against Bahrain”.
The suspects allegedly held meetings with the leaders of terrorist groups in Iran and coordinated with trained terrorist elements in other countries.
The cell, allegedly called “Hezbollah in Bahrain”, was provided all the technical, logistic and financial support. Its members, who received military training, were planted them inside the country as “sleeper cells”, the report added.
Young Bahrainis were also “recruited” and sent to Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon to receive military training, the prosecution alleged.
The militants were reportedly tasked with carrying out “terrorist attacks and assassinations of security personnel and public figures”.
Targets included security patrols and vehicles, oil installations, economic establishments, public services, and vital locations.
The aim was to “destabilise Bahrain, tarnish its reputation and undermine confidence in the kingdom’s security agencies to cause public commotion against its constitutional regime”, the prosecution stated.
Those convicted have the right to challenge the ruling before the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassations.