A higher criminal court in Bahrain has convicted and sentenced five people to life in prison and stripped 56 Shiite citizens of their nationality on charges of forming a terrorist cell, targeting policemen and illegal possession of weapons.

Defense lawyer Mohammed al-Tajir says lawyers plan to appeal Thursday's verdict.

The case involved a total of 61 suspects. Four were found not guilty while the rest were sentenced to a range of prison terms.

Since 2011, Bahrain has been mired in near-daily protests by majority Shiites demanding a greater say in government.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says that since late 2012, the Gulf country has ordered the citizenship of around 125 people revoked — mostly Shiites but also some Sunnis accused of fighting with the Islamic State group.