The martial court issues verdicts on 22 June 2011 against 21 rights activists and political opposition leaders after months of detention.

The verdicts were immediately condemned by rights groups who said all those found guilty had been campaigning to end discrimination at the hands of the Sunni dynasty.

Rights groups have urged Bahrain to halt the special military court proceedings, with Human Rights Watch deeming them a violation of international law.

"Most defendants hauled before Bahrain's special military court are facing blatantly political charges, and trials are unfair," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch's Bahrain researcher Faraz Sanei told Channel 4 News from New York agreed that the court appears to operate as a military tribunal in everything but name.

"These trials do not conform to international standards for fair trials, they are a travesty of justice," he said.

CPJ: In Bahrain, extraordinary tribunal sentences bloggers to life New York, June 22, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's politicized verdict in which 21 bloggers, human rights activists, and members of the political opposition were found guilty of plotting to topple the monarchy. Today's court ruling further cements 2011 as the worst year for press freedom in Bahrain since the island kingdom declared its independence in 1971. Continue reading

FIDH / OMCT: BAHRAIN: Heavy sentences for human rights and dissenting activities The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) express their utmost concern regarding this decision, as they consider that the charges are politically motivated and the right to a fair trial has been disregarded. Accordingly, FIDH and OMCT call for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained. Continue reading

Amnesty International: Bahrain military court sentences Shia activists in unfair trial Amnesty International believes that some of the defendants may be prisoners of conscience.. “These sentences are extremely harsh, and they appear to be politically motivated, since we have not seen any evidence that the activists used or advocated violence,”“Civilians should not have been tried in a military court, and these trials have been patently unfair." Continue reading

RSF: One blogger sentenced to life imprisonment, another to 15 years in jail “The only crime committed by Abdulemam and Al-Singace was freely expressing opinions contrary to those of the government,” Reporters Without Borders said. “These sentences, handed down at the end of trail that flouted defence rights, are typical of the intransigence that the authorities have been showing towards those identified as government opponents, who have borne the full brunt of their repression. The international community must call the government to account on its strategy of stifling all dissent.” Continue reading

HRF: Show Trial Verdicts Further Stain Bahrain’s Reputation “This was not a fair or proper legal process by any standard—there was evidence of torture, denial of proper contact with lawyers and failure to provide basic legal safeguards. This was a sham trial, another stain on Bahrain’s already discredited human rights record,” said HRF’s Brian Dooley, who was refused entry to observe the court hearings on May 12. Continue reading

ANHRI: Bahrain: Vindictive sentences against human rights activists, bloggers & reformists Close road of national reconciliation “ The ongoing of exceptional trials and the aggrandizements of punishments against activists, that it came to life imprisonments is a very dangerous matter. It also reflects the declining human rights’ situation in Bahrain, after the outbreak of protests and the peaceful demonstrations demand political reform”. Continue reading

Bahrain: Front Line condemns life sentence for the organisation's former Protection Coordinator Abdulhadi Al Khawaja “This trial was a total legal charade and followed the brutal arrest and torture of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja for exercising his legitimate rights to freedom of expression and association by campaigning for democracy and human rights in Bahrain” said Ms Lawlor. Continue reading

English PEN: Bahrain: Activist and blogger Abdul-Jalil Alsingace sentenced to life imprisonment English PEN is shocked by the life sentence handed down to academic and human rights activist Dr Abdul-Jalil Alsingace on 22 June 2011 for his peaceful opposition activities. PEN calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Bahrain for the peaceful exercise of their opinions, including Dr Alsingace, and seeks immediate guarantees of their safety. Continue reading