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Bahrain transfers cases to civilian courts

MANAMA, Bahrain, June 27 (UPI) -- A decision by Bahrain to refer cases tied to a Shiite uprising to the civilian courts is a sign of a recognition of international rights, an official said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the prison sentences handed down last week to 21 opposition figures in Bahrain. He called on Manama to "allow all defendants" to receive a fair trial and "do everything possible" to create a climate for concrete national dialogue.

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Bahrain's Minister of Social Development and Acting Health Minister Fatima al-Beloushi told Gulf Daily News that life was returning to normal and therefore the civilian courts could handle any cases yet to be tried before tribunals.

"Such a step is a strong indication of Bahrain's keenness on applying the highest rights and legal standards," she added.

Meanwhile, the official Bahrain News Agency reported Monday that one unnamed defendant pleaded not guilty though military prosecutors found there was enough evidence from his confessions to indict him. A second trial involving 28 figures accused of spreading "malicious information" was adjourned while the defense reviewed case documents, BNA added.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay complained in early June that her comments in BNA about the conflict were "blatantly" misrepresented.

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