DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Bahrain's king has commuted four death sentences handed down by a military tribunal in the island kingdom, which included three civilians and one soldier.
The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's decision Thursday just as the men stood posed to be executed after losing their last appeal.
The men now will serve life sentences after being convicted of plotting to assassinate a military official.
Bahrain is in the midst of a major crackdown on dissent, years after its rulers crushed its 2011 Arab Spring protests with the help of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It has rolled back many reforms made after the protest, including allowing military tribunals to again try civilians.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.