Bahraini sentenced to death for policeman's murder
Manama, February 20, 2014
A Bahraini has been sentenced to death for murdering a policeman by shooting him with a flare gun from close range.
Maher Abbas Al Khabaz, 27, was yesterday convicted of premeditated murder and attempted murder by the High Criminal Court, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He was also handed a five-year jail sentence for resisting arrest and weapons possession, although he could be executed before that sentence is completed.
Six other men received life sentences yesterday for premeditated murder and attempted murder due to their role in the attack, in which policeman Mohammed Asif Khan Afridi was killed.
Nine people were convicted in connection with the death of the officer, who was on duty in Sehla when he was fatally wounded as police tried to control a mob of 70 people armed with metal rods and Molotov cocktails.
It happened at 10.50pm on February 14 last year during a wave of violence marking the second anniversary of anti-government demonstrations.
Al Khabaz received the death sentence yesterday for masterminding the attack, while two of his brothers are among those jailed for life and a third brother, aged 33, was jailed for five years and fined BD500 ($1,319) for stealing the flare gun from the shipping company where he worked.
A ninth defendant received a six-year sentence for taking part in a terrorist gathering, but was cleared of premeditated and attempted murder because he was not involved in the planning.
"The court sentenced the chief defendant, who used the flare gun to kill the policeman, to the death penalty according to four of the defendants' confessions, prosecution witness testimonies, a medical examiner's report and forensic report," stated the verdict.
"He also received five years in jail for resisting arrest and possessing the weapon without a licence.
"His co-defendant (his 33-year-old brother) who supplied him with the flare gun, which he stole from a shipping company where he worked, was acquitted of premeditated and attempted murder and sentenced to five years for possessing the weapon and theft.
"The court did not find evidence against him that showed he had intentions of killing the policeman or participated in the crime.
"However, the chief defendant met six of the defendants and informed them that they were going to ambush policemen with Molotov cocktails, stones, metal rods and the flare gun, which would be used to kill officers."
A forensic report stated that two flares fired from the same gun were found where Afridi was fatally wounded.
The last Bahraini to be executed was Isa Ahmed Hassan Qambar, 29, in 1996 for killing a policeman during clashes in Nuwaidrat.
All of the defendants, aged between 18 and 33, earlier pleaded not guilty and their lawyer said yesterday they would appeal against the verdict. - TradeArabia News Service