4 Protesters Sentenced to Death in Bahrain
Three more, accused of killing policemen, get life in prison
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2011 8:21 AM CDT
A man looks at a billboard in Muharraq, Bahrain Thursday, April 28, 2011 demanding no leniency for those who opposed the Bahraini regime.   (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

(Newser) – Four Shiite protesters were sentenced to death in Bahrain today, convicted of killing two policemen during anti-government protests last month. Three other activists who were accused of purposely running down the policemen with a car were sentenced to life in prison. Human rights groups claim the trial, which was conducted in secret, had no legal credibility: It was simply a "warning, saying this is how we will treat you if you continue to demand your rights," explained the head of one group.

The verdicts are the first related to the uprising of the Shiite majority in Sunni-ruled Bahrain, the AP notes. While foreign media was banned from the courtroom, state media representatives and family members were allowed inside, and a state media report showed clips of purported confessions and referred to protesters as "beasts without mercy." At least 30 people have died and hundreds have been detained since protests broke out on Feb. 15; emergency rule was declared a month later.