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Seven years jail for murder duo

TWO intelligence agents who caused the death of a leading businessman during last year's unrest, have each been jailed for seven years.

The National Security Agency (NSA) officers were convicted of manslaughter by the High Criminal Court yesterday following an eight-month trial.

Abdulkarim Fakhrawi died at BDF Hospital on April 11 last year due to injuries he suffered in custody after being repeatedly hit with a toilet seat by two agents.

"The court found the defendants were not acting in self defence, but were assaulting the victim, according to the defendants' testimonies and a prosecution witness statement," said court documents.

"They (the defendants) grabbed the toilet seat from the victim's hand, pushed him to the ground and continuously hit him.

"He (the victim) lost balance and the officers started to kick him on his sides and one of the agents hit him with the toilet seat.

"After he fell and stopped resisting, they continued to beat him up in revenge."

Judges earlier sent the case back to the Public Prosecution for failing to properly investigate the allegations. Defence lawyer Fareed Ghazi earlier claimed Mr Fakhrawi, 49, died because he did not receive proper care at the BDF Hospital.

The agents, aged 29 and 22, denied killing him and said they were initially attacked by the victim.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report concluded Mr Fakhrawi died as a result of torture.

He had founded a publishing house, owned the construction company that built the Iraqi Embassy in Bahrain and was a co-founder and board member at opposition newspaper Al Wasat.

BICI investigations concluded he was one of the five people who died as a result of torture following the outbreak of unrest last year.

The NSA claimed, in its submission to the BICI, that Mr Fakhrawi had attacked two NSA officers during his incarceration, resulting in a brawl during which one of the officers was hit in the face with a toilet seat lid.

The case originally took place in the National Safety Court, but was transferred to the civilian courts as part of government efforts to implement recommendations of the BICI report.

It said Mr Fakhrawi had gone to a police station on April 3 last year after police surrounded his relative's home in Karbabad the night before while he was there.

However, his family did not know what had happened to him until they were informed nine days later that he was dead.

It said the NSA officers accused of killing Mr Fakhrawi initially denied they were attacked by him, but later changed their statements.

Lawyers for the police agents said they will take the case to the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court.

noorz@gdn.com.bh



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