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Bahrain hands heavy jail terms to Shiite protesters

Bahraini protestors hold up the national flags during an anti-government protest in the village of Diraz, west of Manama, on June 6, 2014The trial was the latest in a string of prosecutions for protests among the Gulf state’s Shiite Muslim majority that prompted Human Rights Watch to warn last month that the Sunni ruling family was using the courts as a tool to maintain a “highly repressive political order.” The defendants were detained after protesters clashed with riot police in the Shiite village of Sitra outside the capital Manama on August 6, 2012, the judicial official said. In a report released on May 29, Human Rights Watch charged that the heavy jail terms handed down against scores of Shiite protesters were part of “a highly functional injustice system” operated by the Bahraini authorities.

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