Arms factory 12 on trial in Bahrain
Manama, February 17, 2014
A secret underground weapons warehouse was used to hide machine guns, handguns, silencers and more than 3,000 bullets, a court heard.
The ammunition and weapons, including five AK-47 assault rifles, five 9mm pistols and five silencers, were stashed in a covert bomb-making factory that was purpose-dug at a farm in Tubli, according to prosecutors reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They said bird cages were used to camouflage the entrance to the facility, which was allegedly established by a Bahraini who had just returned from Iran. Police raided the farm on July 3 last year after a tip-off.
Along with the guns they recovered 3,450 bullets and 12 men are now on trial at the High Criminal Court charged with possessing unlicensed firearms and bullets and making explosives.
The Bahrainis are also accused of being part of a terrorist cell, but only four are in police custody.
Those in custody, who have pleaded not guilty, appeared in court yesterday where judges adjourned the trial until February 20 for review - suggesting a verdict could be imminent.
The cell is said to have rented the property from a Bahraini teacher, who is among those charged along with his brother and his nephew.
However, he claimed he didn't know what it was being used for.
"I applied to get a farm in 2010 and my brother and his son helped me pay rent," the 32-year-old teacher told prosecutors.
"The land measured 800 metres and my brother said he was going to rent half of it to a man who I knew was convicted in criminal cases.
"I don't know anything about the weapons factory in the farm, I only received rent."
However, another of those arrested admitted to prosecutors that he helped the alleged mastermind establish the weapons facility.
"I took part in illegal rallies and riots since 2011, where we would attack policemen and place fake bombs in the street," said the 22-year-old Bahraini.
"I knew him (the mastermind) since school and he told me that he was going to Iran with a few people and asked if I could look for land for him to rent.
"When he came back he found a farm, rented it and asked me to help him.
"He told me he was going to use it as an underground warehouse to store weapons and explosives he got from Ma'ameer to kill policemen.
"I helped in the digging and we made the underground weapons warehouse, which took two months to finish using a truck and an Asian labourer.
"He (the alleged mastermind) was then arrested for burning cars and asked us to stash weapons and hide them beneath the bird cages." - TradeArabia News Service