Bahrain executes 3 over police bombing, triggering protests

Bahrain on Sunday carried out its first executions since an Arab Spring uprising rocked the country in 2011, putting to death three men found guilty of a deadly bomb attack on police. The executions of the Shiite men drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and sparked intense protests by opponents of the Sunni-ruled government, who see the charges as politically motivated. Activists allege that testimony used against the condemned men was obtained through torture. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in several predominantly Shiite communities to protest the executions.

It is nothing short of an outrage — and a disgraceful breach of international law — that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions…The death sentences handed to Ali, Sami and Abbas were based on ‘confessions’ extracted through torture, and the trial an utter sham.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, International human rights organization

Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Singace were found guilty in 2015 of killing two Bahraini policemen and an Emirati officer deployed to bolster the country’s security forces in a bomb attack the previous year. A court upheld their death sentences last Monday. The executions followed a spike in protests in solidarity with the convicted men. The rallies at times turned violent as youth hurled projectiles and petrol bombs while police responded with birdshot and tear gas, witnesses said. The sound of gunfire could be heard into the night. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. Bahrain’s public prosecution said the death sentences were carried out by firing squad. Photos shared by activists purporting to show the bodies of the men showed a tight grouping of multiple gunshot wounds to the heart.