Bahrain's top court upholds sentences against uprising leaders: lawyer

DUBAI Mon Jan 7, 2013 1:11pm IST

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain's highest court upheld sentences against 13 leaders of a 2011 uprising on Monday, a defence lawyer said, in a ruling that could further fuel unrest in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state.

Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based, has been in political turmoil since a protest movement dominated by majority Shi'ite Muslims erupted in February 2011 during a wave of revolts against governments across the Arab world.

The sentences, originally handed down by a military court in 2011 and upheld by a civilian court in September last year, range from five years in prison to life sentences.

"This verdict is final, there are no more appeals possible, it is the last stage of litigation," lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi told Reuters by telephone from Manama.

Twenty uprising leaders had been sentenced, but only 13 filed appeals. Some had been tried in absentia because they were out of the country or in hiding, Jishi said.

The men who received life sentences included rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and opposition leader Hassan Mushaimaa, who has advocated turning the kingdom of Bahrain into a republic.

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Pravin Char)

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