Bahrain executes three men the day after US reinstates federal death penalty

Human rights groups have condemned the execution of three men in Bahrain on Saturday.

(CNN)Three men were executed by firing squad in Bahrain on Saturday morning, according to the kingdom's state news agency.

The move came days after the United States announced it would be reinstating the federal death penalty for the first time in nearly two decades.
The executions were confirmed by Bahrain's advocate general and chief of anti-crime prosecution, Ahmed al Hammadi, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) said.
    The men were convicted in two separate cases by the High Criminal Court after each investigation from Bahrain's Public prosecutor called for them to receive the maximum sentence, BNA said.
    Bahrain's public prosecutor said that two of the executed men were convicted of "joining a terrorist group, committing murders, and possessing explosives and firearms to carry out terror acts."
    There were 58 other individuals accused in the case, 19 of whom were sentenced to life in prison, according to BNA. Two were acquitted, it said.
    Two of the men, Ali al-Arab and Ahmed al-Malali were sentenced to death by the court and the rulings were upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cessation.
    In February 2017, the pair were arrested and sentenced "in a mass trial marred by allegations of torture and serious due process violations," according to a Human Rights Watch report.
    For months, human rights groups have called for an examination of the circumstances around the men's sentencing and for the Bahrain government to halt al-Arab and al-Malali's executions.
    In May, a group of United Nations human rights experts said there were "serious concerns" that the pair were "coerced into making confessions through torture and did not receive a fair trial."
    During the arrest, al-Malali was reportedly shot in his hand. Two bullets were allegedly only removed from his hand 23 days later, according to the UN statement.
    Before the conviction, al-Arab was "reportedly forcibly disappeared for a month," the UN statement said.
    Al-Malali was charged with "possession of firearms, membership in a terrorist cell and the alleged killing of a security officer," according to the UN statement.
    Al-Arab was charged with "killing a police officer, firing on a security patrol and injuring one of its officers, assisting in an attempted prison escape, and possession of firearms," the UN statement said.
    The men were "allegedly prevented from attending their trial, sentenced to the death penalty in absentia and stripped of their nationality, which was later reinstated," according to the UN statement.
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