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Bahrain executes three Shia convicts, spark violent protests in the kingdom

world Updated: Jan 15, 2017 20:20 IST

This undated photo released by Bahrain Center for Human Rights, from left to right, shows Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace and Abbas Al-Samea, who were convicted guilty in deadly police bombing and executed this morning in Bahrain. (AP Photo)

Bahrain on Sunday executed three Shia men despite widespread protests in the capital.

The three were convicted for the killing of three police officers in a bomb attack in March 2014, the BBC reported.

The executions came less than a week after the country’s highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21.

The execution by a firing squad was the first in the Arab country since a 2011 uprising, led by the Shia majority, calling for greater political rights.

The three were found guilty, along with seven other inmates, of belonging to a terror cell that took part in the March 2014 bombing of the village of Sanabis in which three policemen died.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom has escalated a crackdown on its Shia critics over the past year, including revoking the citizenship of the country’s most prominent Shia Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Isa Qassim.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Manama on Saturday after reports emerged on social media about the preparations being made for the execution.

Authorities in Bahrain do not permit international news agencies to cover events independently.

Executions are rare in Bahrain, which borders Saudi Arabia and Iran.

It is nothing short of an outrage -- and a disgraceful breach of international law -- that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions,” Reprieve director Maya Foa said in a statement.

Reprieve said the executions went ahead “despite serious concerns that their convictions were based on evidence obtained under torture.”