Manama- Bahraini authorities set a date for the hearing of the fourth major criminal court in the Saraya Al-Ashtar case, which is accused of forming a terrorist cell to target security forces.
The public prosecutor’s office said the 25 — including 14 already in detention — stand accused of a Feb 26 bombing that wounded four officers in a bus near Jaw village, southeast of the capital Manama. They are charged with receiving military training in Iraq and Iran, which Bahrain has accused of inciting 2011 protests demanding an elected government that continue to this day. Iran has denied involvement.
The charges against the defendants include weapons smuggling and manufacturing, establishing or joining a terrorist group and attempted murder. The first hearing is scheduled for October 19.
On March 5, the Bahraini parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals.
Saraya Al-Ashtar is an extremist organization that follows Tehran-set agenda. According to Bahraini security sources, the terrorist organization was established in late 2012, when the two organization leaders Ahmed Yousef Sarhan- whose alias is Abu Muntazar- and Jassem Ahmad Abdullah- whose alias is Zulfiqar- both affiliated with Iran became actively involved in several terrorist cases in Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt named Doha-backed terror entities that pose a threat to security and peace in the four countries and the region and identified six of them in Bahrain, one of which is Saraya Al- Ashtar.
The four Arab countries cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of bankrolling extremist groups and of being too close to arch foe Iran.