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Babylon & Beyond

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BAHRAIN: Military court postpones trial of opposition leaders


Bahrain's special security court has postponed the trial of 21 opposition leaders set to start Monday until next Sunday, according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency.

The news agency also reported Monday that the military court had agreed to remove the opposition leaders from solitary confinement, where they have been held since they were detained since the government crackdown began in March.

The suspects, mostly Shiites including 14 in custody and the rest charged in absentia, are accused of attempting to overthrow the monarchy and of having links to foreign terrorist groups, a reference to Hezbollah. They have all pleaded not guilty, and human rights activists have demanded access to them, to their trial and to lawyers on their behalf.

Authorities sought to prosecute the activists after months of antigovernment protests in the Persian Gulf state, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Last month, the court sentenced four protesters to death for killing two policemen during antigovernment demonstrations.


Timeline: Repression in Bahrain

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Photo: A pro-government billboard in Muharraq, Bahrain, features mug shots of jailed opposition leaders and the blurred image of a yet-unmasked cleric the sign's language suggests may be involved in their alleged crimes. Credit: Hasan Jamali / Associated Press

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