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SITRA BLAST: Lawyer claims policemen killed by explosion inside bus and not terror bombing

Bahrain News
Tue, 13 Feb 2018
Noor Zahra
1 of 2

A DEFENCE lawyer has requested that a panel of judges examine damage caused to a bus by an explosion that killed two policemen in Sitra.

Fatima Al Hawaj again argued in court yesterday that the officers died in July 2015 because of an explosion inside their police transport vehicle – not because of a bomb planted on the street nearby.

She said that a medical examiner’s statement, which previously refuted her allegations, was not sufficient to prove her wrong.

She also requested judges at the High Criminal Court to summon forensics experts to be cross-examined at the next hearing.

Ms Al Hawaj was presenting her final arguments in the appeal of 12 people convicted in connection with the explosion near a police bus in Sitra.

Twenty-two people were found guilty last March, including two men who were sentenced to death, but only the 12 who appealed are in custody.

“Your honour, the medical examiner’s statements in connection to the explosion is not enough to give us an idea about what happened because he is not an expert in explosives,” Ms Al Hawaj said in court yesterday.

“How can he guarantee that they died from an explosion from outside the bus and not from one that was caused inside the vehicle.

“The bomb blast caused minor damages to the right side of the vehicle.

“However, the policemen who died were sitting in the left side of the bus, which shows that the bomb explosion could not have resulted in their death.

“Therefore, I request the panel of judges to examine the bus and see the damages.

“In addition, I request the court to summon forensics experts to the next hearing.

“There was a wooden box in the vehicle which I believe contained explosives which could have gone off and caused the fatal injuries to the victims.”

However, the court did not respond to both her requests and adjourned the trial to March 27 for a ruling.

Prosecutors previously said the victims were travelling in a police transport vehicle when a roadside bomb was detonated as it drove past.

The two officers who died were identified as Hamed Rasool Aref and Naweed Ahmed Nazer.

Two of the defendants, Mohammed Ebrahim Al Touq and Mohammed Radhi Abdullah, have been sentenced to death for premeditated murder, forming a terrorist group, detonating a bomb and receiving weapons and explosives training.

Five were sentenced to life behind bars, which carries a 25-year prison sentence, for premeditated murder, joining a terrorist group and detonating a bomb.

Another six, including former MP Hassan Marzooq, were jailed for 10 years each, one was jailed for five years, two were sentenced to three years, two were jailed for two years and four defendants received six-month jail terms.


The court also fined three of the defendants, including Mr Marzooq, BD100,000 each for allegedly financing the group.

Eight of the defendants also had their citizenship revoked under anti-terrorism legislation.

Those who have appealed include Mr Al Touq, Mr Abdullah and Mr Marzooq.

The latter was a senior member of the now-dissolved opposition group Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, who was accused of using funds, including BD35,000 transferred to his bank account from a Qatari businessman, to support terrorist groups in Sitra.

Prosecutors described the attack as being meticulously planned and said charity donations of up to BD8,000 every month were being distributed to violent opposition factions in Bahrain.

Confessions of four of the defendants were previously aired on Bahrain TV and one described how they waited for a police bus carrying 20 officers to stop before detonating explosives near the vehicle.

He also said he travelled to Iran to meet ringleaders of a group tasked with carrying out terror attacks in Bahrain and later travelled to Iraq to receive weapons training from Hizbollah.

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