Bahrain defends judicial system
Manama, June 23, 2011
Bahrain yesterday launched a staunch defence of its judicial system following the sentencing of plotters who sought to topple the monarchy, saying defendants brought the country to "the brink of anarchy".
It also called for people to now rally behind the National Dialogue, which it hoped would lead to a consensus for reform that would unite the country, a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper said.
However, the government added it would not tolerate violence or calls to overthrow the regime in an attempt to establish an Islamic republic in Bahrain.
Eight men accused of trying to forcibly overthrow Bahrain's monarchy and having links to a foreign terrorist organisation were yesterday jailed for life.
Ten others were sentenced to 15 years each for their part in the plot.
"The government of Bahrain hopes that the forthcoming National Dialogue will be an opportunity to once again unite the country and emerge with a broad consensus that will see further progress in political, social and economic reforms initiated by His Majesty King Hamad over 10 years ago," it said.
"Those who attend the dialogue will show leadership and distance themselves from the radical elements and therefore prove to the international community that the majority believes in this inclusive forum to pave a better future."
The statement said those jailed yesterday did not represent "any significant number of the population who actually believe that the way forward is through dialogue and peaceful means".
"(The) sentencing sends a message that law and order will be preserved and therefore reassuring the majority of the population of Bahrain that their security will not be allowed to be compromised by violence or attempts to overthrow the regime or by the calling for the establishment of an Islamic republic," it said.
"In the last 10 years, there has been great freedom for people to express their opinions and grievances through many civil and peaceful mediums.
"The courts have never been used for the purpose of silencing anyone. The government believes that the nature of recent incidents and the threat to national security makes the Law of National Safety a legitimate means to prosecute the perpetrators in a court, where they had access to legal counsel and representation, for bringing the country to the brink of total anarchy," it said.