DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini criminal court sentenced senior opposition figure Majeed Milad to two years in prison for incitement to public disobedience of the law, state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
Authorities arrested Milad, a senior member of the Al Wefaq opposition political party, in June. BNA quoted prosecutor Ahmed al-Qurashi as saying Milad had the right of appeal. Milad’s lawyer, Abdulla Al Shamlawi, also reported the sentencing in a tweet.
In July, the U.S State Department said the detention and prosecution of Milad and other figures, including Al Wefaq leader Ali Salman, raised “serious concerns about restrictions on freedom of expression in Bahrain.”
Bahrain responded at the time by saying all its actions followed due legal process. Salman, sentenced in June to four years in jail after he was convicted of inciting unrest, is due in court on Thursday for a hearing of an appeal in his case.
The Sunni Muslim-led island kingdom, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has experienced sporadic unrest since mass protests in 2011 led by majority Shi‘ites demanding reforms and a bigger role in government. The government denies opposition charges it discriminates against Shi‘ites.
Bahrain says the opposition has a sectarian agenda and is backed by Shi‘ite power Iran, a charge Shi‘ite groups deny.
Editing by Hadeel al Sayegh and William Maclean, Editing by Larry King