|Bahrain activists jailed for life|
Court issues life sentences for eight prominent activists for allegedly plotting coup during protests.
The court on Wednesday also sentenced other defendants, from among the 21 suspects on trial, to between two and five years in jail.
Mushaima returned to Bahrain in February, from self-imposed exile in the UK after authorities dropped charges against him.
Ibrahim Sharif, the Sunni leader of the secular leftist group Waad, was sentenced to five years. Waad had joined the largest Shia opposition group Wefaq in calling for reforms to the constitutional monarchy.
Authorities claimed the activists had sought to overthrow Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy and have links to “a terrorist organisation abroad” – a veiled reference to Iran.
Witnesses say demonstrators made roadblocks with sand and debris, and called for marches to oppose the trial. No violence was reported.
On Tuesday night, several villages had demonstrated in solidarity with the opposition leaders facing charges.
Residents and activists said small protests broke out in some areas to chants of “Down, down (King) Hamad”, as police cars rushed to block the roads to the villages.
The government contests the opposition’s estimate that some 400 people are on trial, saying the number is far smaller.
Some activists sent telephone text messages calling on followers to protest again on Wednesday in a “Day of loyalty to the symbols”, to demand the release of the defendants and rejection of the government’s dialogue offer.
Sunni-ruled Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, invited Saudi and other Gulf troops in mid-March to help crush the pro-democracy protests that were led by majority Shia.
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