DUBAI - Two Bahraini policemen were sentenced to jail for seven years each on Sunday for beating to death a Shi'ite opposition activist in custody during last year's crackdown on protesters.
The sentences, reported by state news agency BNA, were criticized as too lenient by critics and may do little to blunt international criticism of human rights abuses since Bahrain's Sunni Muslim rulers quelled a Shi'ite-led uprising last year.
In April 2011, Kareem Fakhrawi - a businessman and member of Wefaq, the leading opposition group in Bahrain - died in custody, a week after failing to return home from a police station where he had tried to complain about his house being demolished by police, opposition members said.
"We didn't expect it would be just seven years," said Wefaq member Sayed Hadi al-Mousawi, criticizing the sentences.
"The prosecutor changed the charges from 'torture leading to death' to 'beating leading to death'. They don't want to admit that there was torture," he told Reuters.