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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bahrain puts boy aged 11 on trial for alleged role in roadblock protest



Ali Hasan says he was just playing in the street when he was arrested. He was 'forced' to confess and was detained in jail

At a time when most 11-year-old boys are looking forward to the school holidays, Ali Hasan is preparing for his trial.



On Wednesday morning the primary school pupil from suburban Manama will stand in a Bahrain court and listen as the case against him is spelt out. The prosecution case: that Ali helped protesters block a street with rubbish containers and wood during demonstrations last month. Ali's defence: that he's a child who was just playing with friends in the street.

"On the day before I was arrested there was some fighting in the streets near my house between the demonstrators and the police," Ali told the Guardian by phone from his home in the Bilad al-Qadeem suburb. "The demonstrators had blocked the street by setting fire to tyres and using containers in which people dispose of their rubbish.

"The day after this I went to the street with two of my friends to play. It was around 3pm. While we were playing there, some police forces came towards us which made us panic. My friends managed to run away … but I was so scared by the guns they were carrying that I couldn't move … and I was arrested."

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