Germany calls for stay of execution in Bahrain

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Germany on Friday called for four Shiite protesters sentenced to death in Bahrain to be spared, joining rights groups such as Amnesty International in appealing for a stay of execution.

"Our goverment hopes that the death sentences will not be carried out and that the judgement will be revised," said Andreas Peschke, a spokesman for German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

"Our position is that these drastic sentences are not in keeping with the process of renewal and reconciliation" taking place in Bahrain, Peschke told a regular government news conference.

A Bahraini military court sentenced four Shiite protesters to death and three to life in prison Thursday for the killing of two policemen at a crackdown on a pro-democracy rally, according to state media.

According to authorities, four police were killed last month after being struck by cars during the Shiite-led protests in the kingdom ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.

Bahrain had declared a State of National Safety, a lower degree of emergency, on March 16, a day before security forces crushed a month-long Shiite-led demonstration demanding democratic reforms.

Bahraini authorities have said 24 people were killed during the unrest, most of them demonstrators.

© 2011 AFP

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