4 Shiites May be Executed over Bahrain Deadly Blast

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Four Shiites who "confessed" to taking part in an attack that killed three policemen in Bahrain this month could face the death penalty if convicted, prosecutors said on Sunday.

Death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment -- 25 years -- in the Gulf kingdom, which has been rocked by a Shiite-led uprising against the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty since 2011.

The public prosecution service has ordered Sami Mirza Ahmed Mushaima, Abbas Jamil Tahir Alsameea, Ali Mohammed Jamil Taher Alsameea and Yusuf Ahmed Mohammed Taher Alsameea "jailed on remand after being charged with establishing and joining a terrorist group... (and) killing security personnel," a statement said.

The four, who have "confessed" their involvement in the blast, are also accused of manufacturing and possessing explosives to disturb "public security and for a terrorist purpose", said the English-language statement.

The crimes could carry the death penalty and revocation of citizenship, it said.

The March 3 explosion in the Shiite village of Daih was the bloodiest attack on security forces since the Shiite majority backed an uprising in February 2011 against the ruling al-Khalifa family.

An officer from the United Arab Emirates was among the dead, making him the first officer from another Gulf state to be killed since regional forces entered Bahrain in March 2011 to boost security personnel who later quelled the month-long uprising.

Some 29 people were arrested over alleged links to the bombing and other suspects remain at large, said Sunday's statement which added that the attack was carried out using an improvised explosive device connected to a mobile phone.

Bahrain remains deeply divided with persistent protests sparking clashes with police, scores of Shiites jailed on "terror" charges and reconciliation talks deadlocked.

Last year the authorities increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences for those convicted in cases which result in death or injury.

In February, a court sentenced a Shiite protester to death and jailed six others for life after they were convicted of killing a policeman a year ago.

The International Federation for Human Rights says at least 89 people have been killed in Bahrain since February 2011.

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