Bahraini court sentences three athletes

A military court in Bahrain has sentenced three sportsmen to one year in prison for taking part in anti-regime demonstrations earlier in 2011.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The three athletes include bodybuilder Tareq al-Fursani, a gold medalist in several Asian championships, Ali Saeed, a goalkeeper in the national soccer team, and Mohammed Hassan al-Dirazi, a member of the national basketball team.
The men were found guilty of illegal congregation and inciting hatred against the Manama regime.
More than sixty Bahrainis have already been tried for participating in anti-regime protests since the beginning of the uprising in February.
Dozens of people have been killed and thousands more have been arrested or fired from their jobs over the past months as part of the Saudi-backed crackdown on demonstrations in Bahrain.
On Friday, the Manama regime announced it would hire John Timoney, a former police chief from the American city of Miami, and John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police, to offer support to Bahraini security forces in their brutal crackdown on popular protests.
The decision came as the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) issued a report on November 23, saying that the ruling Al Khalifa regime had used “excessive force, including the extraction of forced confessions against detainees,” in their efforts to crush demonstrations in the country.
Bahrain's Freedom Movement has censured the decision to hire the foreign police officers, saying the decision was meant to launch a new round of crackdown on protests in the country.