WASHINGTON - The United States said on Wednesday it was deeply concerned over a decision by Bahrain's top court to uphold jail terms against nine medics convicted for their role in last year's pro-democracy uprising, calling it a setback for reconciliation efforts in the Gulf Arab state.

"We are deeply concerned that the Court of Cassation upheld the rulings against the nine medical professionals who were associated with the protests last year," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing.

"We're also concerned that these convictions serve to further restrict freedom of expression and hurt the atmosphere that's so necessary in Bahrain for national reconciliation," Nuland said.

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