Sunday, January 31, 2010

Al-Qa'eda in Bahrain

According to the Khaleej Times, a Gulf newspaper, A Bahraini court jailed two men last week for five years after convicting them of possessing arms, plotting to attack foreign interests and linking up with Al-Qaeda, their lawyers said Wednesday.

Their lawyer Farid Ghazi said the verdict was purely “based on the possession of weapons,” and rejected charges that the defendants “belong to a terrorist organisation,” using the local term for Al-Qaeda.

“It is impossible that an organisation like Al-Qaeda could execute an attack using people that have no experience with arms, like our clients.”

Ghazi said the prosecution had also accused the two Bahraini men of “plotting to attack installations belonging to a foreign state,” referring to the US Fifth Fleet base and the US embassy in Manama.

“This is impossible because such attack would need more than two AK-47 rifles and pistols,” he added.

The second lawyer, Abdullah Hashem, said the two defendants “did not meet any members of Al-Qaeda, and never belonged to this organisation.”

He said the two were only “involved in intellectual and political debates and exchanged ideas on the Internet, as far as the accusation of belonging to Al-Qaeda is concerned.”

The men were arrested in April. The interior ministry said at the time that they were suspected of plotting attacks inside Bahrain and neighbouring Gulf countries.

In February, a Bahraini court sentenced three men to up to five years in prison for belonging to and funding a “terrorist” group abroad.

What the newspaper didn't report is that the two persons convicted were foreigners, granted Bahraini citizenship as part of the government's programme to alter the demography of the country by giving jobs and citizenship to Sunnis from neighbouring countries. All-Qa'eda terrorists would not miss the open door to get at such a tempting target as the US Fifth Fleet.

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