Bahrain Civilian Court to Retry Convicted Medical Staff

Posted October 5th, 2011 at 1:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Bahrain has ordered a retrial for 20 medical staff sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their roles in the Gulf island's political unrest.

Bahrain's attorney general called for a civilian court retrial in a statement issued Wednesday.

Last week, the medical personnel were sentenced by a military court to prison terms ranging from five to 15 years for their roles in anti-government protests earlier this year.

Bahraini authorities accused the doctors and nurses of using the hospital for anti-government activity, of possessing firearms and of having confiscated medical equipment.

The United Nations condemned the sentences.

The retrial order came hours after a Bahraini security court sentenced 19 more people to jail terms for their roles in pro-reform protests–raising the total number of activists sentenced over the past week to more than 80.

Thirteen activists received five-year prison terms on convictions of hurling homemade explosives and other objects at a police station near Manama during demonstrations earlier this year. Six others received one year prison sentences for their roles in pro-reform unrest.

The protests were led by Bahrain's Shi'ite majority. They have been demanding a greater role in the Sunni-led government.