Middle East

Bahrain lawmakers approve military trials for civilians

FILE- In this July 28, 2013 file photo, Bahraini lawmakers participate in a special session of parliament to discuss how to handle the uprising in the Gulf island kingdom, convened in Manama, Bahrain. Lawmakers in Bahrain have backed changing the constitution in a way that would allow civilians to be tried by military courts amid a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent. The 40-seat Council of Representatives, the elected lower house of the tiny Gulf nation's National Assembly, voted to back the proposal, which now heads to the 40-member Consultative Council, a body appointed by the king. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

FILE- In this July 28, 2013 file photo, Bahraini lawmakers participate in a special session of parliament to discuss how to handle the uprising in the Gulf island kingdom, convened in Manama, Bahrain. Lawmakers in Bahrain have backed changing the constitution in a way that would allow civilians to be tried by military courts amid a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent. The 40-seat Council of Representatives, the elected lower house of the tiny Gulf nation's National Assembly, voted to back the proposal, which now heads to the 40-member Consultative Council, a body appointed by the king. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)  (The Associated Press)

Lawmakers in Bahrain have backed changing the constitution in a way that would allow civilians to be tried by military courts amid a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent.

The 40-seat Council of Representatives, the elected lower house of the tiny Gulf nation's National Assembly, voted Tuesday to back the proposal. It now heads to the 40-member Consultative Council, a body appointed by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

The bill revises a portion of Bahrain's constitution by removing limitations on who military courts can try.

Bahraini officials did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The bill represents another step back from reforms enacted after authorities put down the island's 2011 Arab Spring protests.