Bahrain: Shiite cleric sentenced by security court

By the Associated Press | May 19, 2011 | 6:27 AM EDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Bahraini security court has sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20 years in prison for the alleged kidnapping of a police officer.

Bahrain's state-run news agency announced the sentences Thursday. Among those sentenced was Mohammed Habib al-Saffaf, an opposition cleric known to followers as Sheik Mohammed Habib al-Moqdad.

The Bahrain News Agency didn't provide details of the alleged crime.

The defendants were tried in a special court presided over by civil and military judges. It was set up under emergency laws implemented in March during a crackdown on Shiite-led protests against the Gulf kingdom's Sunni rulers. It previously sentenced four people to death for killing two policemen during the unrest.