Lawyer: Bahrain court strips convicts' citizenship

August 6, 2014 - 9:35 AM

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Nine Bahraini opposition activists convicted on Wednesday of various public security charges have been stripped of their citizenship, said their defense lawyer.

Lawyer Reem Khalaf, who represented some of those on trial, said the defendants were convicted and sentenced on charges that included participation in an illegal organization and having ties to Iran. Some also faced weapons and explosives possession charges.

They received prison terms ranging from seven to 22 years, she said. They plan to appeal the verdicts.

Bahrain is an island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia that is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

An opposition movement led by the country's Shiite majority took to the streets in Arab Spring-inspired protests in early 2011 to demand greater political rights from the Sunni monarchy.

Authorities moved to crush the uprising with the help of neighboring Gulf Arab states, but low-level unrest continues.

The government and its backers have accused Shiite powerhouse Iran of stoking the unrest, which has included occasional violent attacks by hard-line anti-government activists.