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Bahrain Jails 169 For Founding 'Iran-Linked Terror Group'

Mass trials became commonplace in Bahrain after a failed uprising in 2011. (file photo)

A Bahraini court has convicted 139 people on terrorism-related charges in a mass trial involving 169 defendants, and sentenced them to prison terms of between three years and life in prison.

The public prosecutor's office said on April 16 that 138 of those convicted were stripped of their citizenship and a further 30 were acquitted.

The defendants, of which 109 are in custody and 60 were tried in absentia, can appeal.

Charges against the group included forming a terrorist cell inside Bahrain with help from mainly Shi’ite Iran for the purpose of carrying out attacks in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Amnesty International said it was the second "flagrantly unfair mass trial" in Bahrain since February, when 167 people were convicted, primarily for "participation in a nonviolent sit-in."

Mass trials became commonplace in Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, after a failed uprising in 2011 that was led by members of the Persian Gulf island nation's Shi'ite Muslim majority.

Since the uprising, Bahrain has seen periodic clashes between protesters and security forces, who have been targeted by bomb attacks.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters,