Bahrain: Shiite cleric sentenced by security court

A Bahraini security court has sentenced a prominent Shiite cleric and eight others to 20 years in prison for the alleged kidnapping of a police officer.

The sentences, announced by Bahrain's state-run news agency on Thursday, come amid a crackdown by the ruling Sunni dynasty against Shiite-led protesters who demonstrated earlier this year demanding greater freedoms.

Western leaders have strongly condemned Bahrain for the crackdown.

British Prime Minister Prime Minister David Cameron plans to make it a topic of discussions during a meeting later Thursday in London with the Gulf state's crown prince, Salman bin Hammed Al Khalif, the British leader's office said.

The Bahrain News Agency reported that among those sentenced in the alleged kidnapping was Mohammed Habib al-Saffaf, an opposition cleric known to followers as Sheik Mohammed Habib al-Moqdad.

The defendants were tried in a special court presided over by civil and military judges. It was set up under emergency laws implemented in March during the crackdown. The court previously sentenced four people to death for killing two policemen during the unrest.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that al-Moqdad has dual Bahraini and Swedish citizenship, but that Bahraini authorities have prevented Stockholm from contacting him.

The ministry spokesman, Tobias Nilsson, said authorities in Bahrain do not recognize al-Moqdad's dual citizenship.