Reporters Without Borders: Life sentence for Bahraini blogger

A Bahraini blogger has been handed a life sentence, another has received 15 years in prison, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The two were among 21 activists to be accused of belonging to terrorist organisations and trying to overthrow the government, the pressure group says on its site.

Blogger Abduljalil Al-Singace was handed a life sentence; Ali Abdulemam, who was tried in absentia, was given 15 years, Global Voices, an international bloggers network Abdulemam contributes to, also reports on the sentencing.

“The only crime committed by Abdulemam and Al-Singace was freely expressing opinions contrary to those of the government,” Reporters Without Borders said in its post. “These sentences, handed down at the end of trial that flouted defence rights, are typical of the intransigence that the authorities have been showing towards those identified as government opponents, who have borne the full brunt of their repression. The international community must call the government to account on its strategy of stifling all dissent.”

Singace was rearrested on 16 March after being held from September to February. He was previously arrested in 2009 for allegedly trying to destabilise the government because of articles posted on his blog.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Abdulemam is regarded as one of Bahrain’s internet pioneers and is an active member of Bahrain Online, a pro-democracy forum that gets more than 100,000 visitors a day despite being blocked within Bahrain. He was also detained from September to February but avoided being rearrested and has been in hiding for several months.

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