Bahrain sends civilian 'cell' to military court

22 Oct 2017 / 23:37 H.

DUBAI: Bahraini authorities have referred a group of civilians accused of targeting security forces to a military court, state media said Sunday, months after a constitutional amendment expanded the court's reach.
General Youssef Rashid Fleifel, the head of Bahrain's military justice department, announced a civilian "terrorist cell" had been charged and would face a military trial, state news agency BNA reported.
Fleifel did not give further detail on the number or identities of those to stand trial, a date for which has yet to be announced.
Bahrain's parliament in April approved a constitutional amendment, ratified by the king, granting military courts the right to try civilians on terrorism-linked charges or attacks on the country's security forces.
The constitution had previously limited military trials to members of the army or security forces.
Authorities sent the first civilian case to military court in May. No details on that case against Fadhel Radhi, arrested in September 2016, have been made public.
A key US ally located between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain since 2011 has been rocked by unrest as authorities continue to crack down on protests demanding a change in government.
The tiny Gulf archipelago is home to a majority Shiite population and has been ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.
The main island is also home to the US Fifth Fleet and a British military base that is still under construction.
Bahrain has accused Iran of backing the protests to destabilise the country, an accusation Tehran denies. — AFP

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