Bahrain executes three over policemen's deaths

 16 Jan 2017 - 0:20


Dubai: Bahrain yesterday executed three men convicted of killing three policemen in a 2014 bomb attack, the first such executions in over two decades.
The executions came less than a week after the country’s highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas Al Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali Al Singace, 21, found guilty of killing one Emirati and two Bahraini police officers.
Activists in Bahrain reacted with rage to the move, calling it a “black day” and posting images of protestors clashing with police on social media.
Such executions are extremely rare in the small Gulf Arab island. The last similar case involving a Shia Bahraini occurred in 1996.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement that Britain opposes the death penalty and he “raised the issue with the Bahraini Government.”
Bahrain says Shia neighbour Iran is supporting violence in the kingdom in a bid to widen its influence, a charge Tehran denies. State news agency BNA said the men were shot and killed in the presence of a judge, doctor and a cleric.
Images posted by Bahraini activists on social media after the news showed demonstrators blocking roads with burning tires and throwing rocks at police who responded with tear gas in several Shia villages. Authorities last year escalated a crackdown on its Shia  critics by imprisoning a top rights campaigner, shuttering the main opposition block and revoking the community’s spiritual leader of his citizenship.
It has drawn criticism throughout from the international community, including from governments and rights groups who accuse it of being too heavy handed. Activists warned the move would undermine security.
“This is a black day in Bahrain’s history. It is the most heinous crime committed by the government. This act is a security threat to Bahrain and the entire region,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.