According to the state-run Bahrain News Agency, BNA, 14 were convicted to life for killing a Pakistani national in March “with a terrorist aim,” as well as “assembling for riots”.
Further details about the killing were not immediately disclosed. Manama had reportedly recruited Pakistani mercenaries to crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Matar Matar, a former opposition lawmaker, however, said those convicted of killing the Pakistani man had confessed under torture and that the evidence against them was weak. According to Matar, they only took part in a public gathering demanding an end to the rule of Al Khalifa dynasty.
“Their lawyers had asked for a medical committee to check them for marks of torture, but their request was turned down,” Matar told AFP, adding, “The only evidence used against them is through witnesses. There are no fingerprints or any other proof”.
Another 21, including six university students were sentenced to 15 years in jail after being found guilty of attempting to murder military personnel, in addition to taking part in protests and vandalizing the Bahrain University, BNA quoted military prosecutor, Yusof Fleifel, as saying.
Another university student was given 18 years in prison.
The students were also collectively fined about one million dollars.
Opposition activists, however, say that pro-regime thugs stormed Bahrain University, damaged the building and attacked students after a protest gathering was held inside the university in March.
The verdicts came days after the same military court sentenced 20 medics to jail terms of between five to 15 years for treating injured anti-government protesters.
Meanwhile, human rights activists said Monday that a group of 14 opposition leaders, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Hassan Mushaima, who launched a hunger strike on September 24 were being denied medical care while in prison and that they are in critical condition.
The harsh sentences draw international criticism. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed ”deep concern” over the sentences and called for the release of all political detainees in Bahrain.
The United Nations human rights office has also said that the trials failed to meet international standards of transparency as the accused had been allowed limited access to lawyers.
“For such harsh sentences to be handed down to civilians in a military court with serious due process irregularities raises severe concerns,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“We even hear of people calling their families a day before the hearing to appoint a lawyer,” said Colville.