Bahrain. The year began with repeated demonstrations since the opposition leader Ali Salman was arrested just before the New Year. Salman, leader of the Shi’ite Muslim movement al-Wefaq, was accused of calling for a force to overthrow the regime in a speech. Prosecutions were brought against him despite widespread protests from the UN and international human rights organizations as well. In June, Salman was sentenced to four years in prison for, among other things, incitement to hatred and disobedience to the law and insult to state institutions. However, he was not convicted for attempting to force political change with violence, which could have given life imprisonment.
Well-known human rights activist Nabil Rajab was sentenced in January to six months in prison for having insulted the Interior and Defense Ministry on Twitter last fall. The verdict was appealed and while he was free from bail, he was remanded, this time for tweeting about the war in Yemen and about alleged torture in a Bahraini prison. The first verdict was upheld and Rajab had to serve a few months before King Hamad in July granted him, citing his state of health. But Rajab still risked up to ten years in prison in the new case.
Despite the judgments, the US State Department announced in June that military support for Bahrain would be resumed as progress was deemed to have been made in the area of human rights and, among other things, political prisoners were released. The support was withdrawn when the 2011 regime hit hard on Shiite Muslim protesters demanding increased influence and democracy. Bahrain was part of the Alliance of States, led by Saudi Arabia, which in March launched air strikes against the Yemeni skin movement to reinstate President Abd al-Rahman Mansur al-Hadi. In September, five Bahraini soldiers were killed in an explosion in southern Saudi Arabia, where they were posted to guard the border with Yemen.
According to Countryaah, Manama is the capital of Bahrain which is located in Western Asia. Five people were sentenced in December to life imprisonment for causing an explosion last year that caused only material damage.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Bahrain country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.