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9 Dec, 2013 13:54

Bahrain jails 12 Shiite activists over attack on police

A Bahraini court has sentenced 12 Shiite activists, three of them minors, to prison terms up to five years for assaulting policemen with Molotov cocktails.

The nine adult protesters were sentenced to five year behind bars each, and the three minors were handed down three-year jail terms.

The attack on police they are accused of dates from April 2012, and took place in a Shiite suburb of Manama.

The latest imprisonments bring the total number to 28 people put behind bars since the beginning of this month.

Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, and tensions boiled over in March 2011 when Shiite-led unrest led to a violent crackdown.

At least 89 people have been killed since the popular uprising began, the International Federation for Human Rights reported.

It was also confirmed by numerous international human rights organizations that the Bahraini security forces used systematic torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse on prisoners.

Bahrain is a strategic location for the US, with the American’s Navy's Fifth Fleet situated there. Plus, the state is an offshore zone for Arab neighbors.

On Friday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived to visit the US military in Bahrain. He vowed that the US would keep a significant military presence in the Persian Gulf – without mentioning the violent protests and human rights violations.

Those who suffered in the violent crackdown by government forces accused the US and Western allies of being quick to condemn other leaderships crushing protests across the region – but far too slow in responding to the Bahraini crisis.

Sayed Yousif Almuhafida, a refugee and activist who received death threats in Bahrain and had to flee to Europe, spoke to RT about his plight.

"The oil is better than the human rights in Bahrain, and their own interest is better than human rights situation in Bahrain, so that's why we're the victims of double standards, because we live in an oil country," he said.