Manama: Tight security was laid
on today as a trial opened in Bahrain for 27 Shiites accused
of being militants who plotted to overthrow the Gulf state`s
Twenty-five of the defendants appeared before the High
Criminal Court in Manama charged with "forming an illegal
organisation, resorting to terrorism, financing terrorist
activities and spreading false information," according to
Riot police were stationed around the courthouse,
according to an AFP correspondent who attended the trial.
The defendants who appeared in court rejected the
charges, while the other two accused are being tried in
absentia as they are abroad.
"We`re not guilty," they said in turn while
complaining of having been "tortured" and "abused" and
denouncing their continued detention in solitary confinement.
Authorities announced on September 4 that they had
charged 23 Shiite activists, two of them in absentia, with
forming a "terror network" aimed at toppling Bahrain`s
Four new defendants appeared in court today.
On October 21, Bahrain said Interpol had circulated
warrants for the arrest of two Shiite opposition leaders who
have been living in London, Bahrain Freedom Islamic Movement
secretary general Said al-Shihabi and Haq leader Hussein
Observers from human rights watchdogs Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch were present as the trial
got under way on today.