[JURIST] Bahrain's Fourth High Criminal Court on Wednesday convicted 11 defendants of possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives and of manufacturing bombs for terror purposes, meting out 15-year prison sentences and significant fines. The Interior Ministry arrested the men [BNA report] after searching their farmhouse pursuant to a warrant issued by the Public Prosecution office. Authorities uncovered five illegally smuggled AK-47 rifles with silencers, 3500 rounds of ammunition, five silenced handguns and a variety of explosives and bomb-making materials. Several of the accused reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges, while the others faced further investigation and examination in court. Reports indicate that the men planned to attack [AFP report] members of Bahrain's security forces and various high-level public figures within the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
Sunni-ruled Bahrain continues to battle public protest and violence from clashes with the Shiite minority. In November Bahraini authorities arrested and charged [JURIST report] two former Guantanamo Bay detainees for plotting an attack in Bahrain. In October a Bahrain appellate court reduced the prison sentences [JURIST report] of two police officers convicted of torturing and murdering a detainee after opposition protests in March 2011. In September Mohamed al-Maskati, head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, reported that a Bahrain court sentenced 50 defendants [JURIST report] to prison terms ranging between five and 15 years in prison, with 20 of the defendants sentenced in absentia.