Bahrain has faced civil unrest as Shiite-led protesters seek political empowerment in the Sunni-ruled country. In July the Bahrain National Assembly [BBC backgrounder] approved laws [JURIST report] increasing penalties for those who commit or incite terrorism as an effort to half the "dangerous escalation" of unrest and political tensions. Earlier that month 29 protesters were sentenced to one month in prison [JURIST report] for entering Pearl Square, the heavily fortified area that was once the center of Bahrain's anti-government uprising. Last month three protesters were sentenced to imprisonment [JURIST report] for taking part in anti-government protests as well as attempting to kill a police officer. In May a Bahrain court sentenced six individuals [JURIST report] to a year in prison for insulting King Hamad via Twitter. Also in May a Bahrain court issued 15-year prison sentences [JURIST report] to 31 protesters for their role in firebomb attacks as part of anti-government protests.
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