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Bahrain upholds convictions; U.N. objects

Jan. 8, 2013 at 5:38 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The United Nations expressed disappointment in Bahrain's decision to uphold the convictions of 13 activists plotting to overthrow the government.

The country's highest appeals court took just minutes Monday to rule on the appeal of the activists, who received sentences of five years to life in prison for their roles in anti-government demonstrations in 2011, CNN reported.

"These persons are political and human rights activists, and we are concerned they may have been wrongly convicted for legitimate activities. We are also concerned by the extreme harshness of the sentences," Cecile Pouilly, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday.

Amnesty International, the human rights organization based in London, called the convictions an outrage and urged Bahrain to overturn the sentences, and the British newspaper The Guardian said the British government has commissioned a parliamentary committee to examine relations with Bahrain as a result of the arrests and convictions.

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