Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bahraini boy, 11, charged with helping protesters

Ali Hasan faces up to three years in jail if convicted as authorities refuse to believe he was merely playing in the street

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Wednesday 20 June 2012

"Prosecutors in Bahrain have charged an 11-year-old boy with taking part in an illegal gathering, which could see him sent to jail.

Ali Hasan, a primary school pupil from the capital's suburban area of Bilad al-Qadeem, was picked up by security officials from his neighbourhood on accusations that he helped protesters block a street with rubbish containers and wood during anti-government demonstrations in the area last month. He subsequently spent nearly a month in a juvenile detention centre before being released last week to await trial.

Ali told the Guardian he was merely playing with friends in the street and had nothing to do with the protests.

"The verdict will be issued on 5 July," said Ali's lawyer, Shahzalan Khamees, who defended him at the juvenile criminal court in Manama on Wednesday. "They charged him with illegal gathering that has a few weeks up to three years imprisonment as punishment under the country's law." Ali was accompanied to court by his father, Jasem Hasan......"

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