World Bulletin / News Desk
Two Bahraini policemen were sentenced to jail for seven years each on Sunday for beating to death a Shi'ite opposition activist in custody during last year's crackdown on protesters.
The sentences, reported by state news agency BNA, were criticised as too lenient by critics and may do little to blunt international criticism of human rights abuses since Bahrain's Sunni Muslim rulers quelled a Shi'ite-led uprising last year.
In April 2011, Kareem Fakhrawi - a businessman and member of Wefaq, the leading opposition group in Bahrain - died in custody, a week after failing to return home from a police station where he had tried to complain about his house being demolished by police, opposition members said.
"We didn't expect it would be just seven years," said Wefaq member Sayed Hadi al-Mousawi, criticising the sentences.
"The prosecutor changed the charges from 'torture leading to death' to 'beating leading to death'. They don't want to admit that there was torture," he told Reuters.
In July, Bahrain charged 15 policemen with "mistreatment" of detainees, as part of an investigation into reports of torture of protesters rounded up in a crackdown on unrest.
A commission of international legal experts reported in November that torture had been systematically used to punish and extract confessions from hundreds of protesters during the period of martial law last year.
It also said that 35 people, mainly protesters, had died during the unrest, five of them as a result of torture.
Thousands were arrested and military trials were instituted during the martial law period.
Washington has called on its ally to talk to the opposition, but unrest has continued. Police and demonstrators clash almost daily and each side blames the other for the violence.
The opposition says little progress has been made towards its demands for reforms including a parliament with full powers to legislate and form governments.
Bahrain's interior minister has denied that police were given any orders to torture or kill protesters.
ISIL has taken control of a number of villages in eastern and southern Azaz district
'Heavy clashes took place overnight between ISIL fighters and opposition inside the walls of Marea town,' a monitor says
Supreme leader urges freshly-elected parliament to be a stronghold against ‘impudence, charms’ of nation’s enemies
Syrian regime and Russian warplanes launch at least 40 airstrikes on towns in Aleppo province
The Pentagon has banned troops in Syria from wearing these Kurdish militia patches
UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland says reaching aid for Syrians it is impossible and a critical situation in some areas.
Egypt's lead investigator said signals coming from the aircraft's fuselage will narrow down the search radius from 40 miles to three
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffered his second cabinet resignation in a week on Friday when a minister quit over the appointment of a hardline nationalist in the "extremist government".
Iranian man last of 4 refugees detained by Australia who volunteered to move to Cambodia last year
US ground troops are aiding the coalition against ISIL in Raqqa
Iranian official accuses Saudi Arabia of planning large-scale cyber attack against his country
Pentagon comment follows photos surfaced of U.S. special forces wearing Kurdish YPG patches in Syria
The Saudi foreign minister has said that the removal of President Bashar al-Assad as part of a political transition in the violence-torn country.
The US State department has said that it is only " playing an advise and assist role,"
A monitor's, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, new toll reports on horrific casualties of fighting in Syria
Islamic Constitutional Movement has boycotted two general polls in 2012 and 2013 in protest against a change in electoral law