Shiite cleric sentenced by security court: Bahrain

A Bahraini security court has sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20 years in prison for the alleged kidnapping of a police officer.

Updated: May 19, 2011, 23:44 PM IST

Dubai: A Bahraini security court has
sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20
years in prison for the alleged kidnapping of a police
officer.

The sentences, announced by Bahrain`s state-run news
agency yesterday, come amid a crackdown by the ruling Sunni
dynasty against Shiite-led protesters who demonstrated earlier
this year demanding greater freedoms.

Western leaders have strongly condemned Bahrain for
the crackdown.

British Prime Minister Prime Minister David Cameron
plans to make it a topic of discussions during a meeting later
Thursday in London with the Gulf state`s crown prince, Salman
bin Hammed Al Khalif, the British leader`s office said.

The Bahrain News Agency reported that among those
sentenced in the alleged kidnapping was Mohammed Habib
al-Saffaf, an opposition cleric known to followers as Sheik
Mohammed Habib al-Moqdad.

The defendants were tried in a special court presided
over by civil and military judges. It was set up under
emergency laws implemented in March during the crackdown. The
court previously sentenced four people to death for killing
two policemen during the unrest.

Sweden`s Foreign Ministry said today that al-Moqdad
has dual Bahraini and Swedish citizenship, but that Bahraini
authorities have prevented Stockholm from contacting him.

The ministry spokesman, Tobias Nilsson, said
authorities in Bahrain do not recognise al-Moqdad`s dual
citizenship.

PTI