The public prosecution in Bahrain said in a statement on Wednesday that the individuals were found guilty of “obstructing the electoral process” of the polls set for the end of the week.
Muhanna al-Shayji, head of Bahrain’s so-called electoral crimes unit, said one of the suspects had been detained after calling on Twitter for a boycott of the November 24 elections, according to the statement.
A second man was arrested for posting “fake news on the behavior of one of the candidates” on social media, and the other three were arrested for destroying advertisements of candidates, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s al-Merat website said the country’s criminal court sentenced a citizen in the northern village of Diraz to one month in prison and a fine of 800 dollars for allegedly destroying advertisements of candidates.
On November 13, the Al Khalifa regime detained and charged a man for tweeting about boycotting the elections. The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) identified the man as Ali Rashed al-Asheeri, a former member of parliament with the now-dissolved opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
Upcoming elections internationally questioned
The legitimacy of the upcoming elections has been widely questioned by the international community. Bahrain has banned all opposition parties from running.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday that Bahrain had failed to provide conditions for fair and free voting in the upcoming polls, adding that the elections are taking place in a repressive political environment.
In May, Bahrain’s parliament approved a bill barring the former members of al-Wefaq from running in elections.
The group announced a boycott of the upcoming elections in October.
Another opposition group followed suit in November.
Earlier on November 4, a Bahraini court sentenced three senior opposition members, including prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, to life imprisonment after overturning a previous acquittal.
They were charged with spying for Qatar, in what Amnesty International called a “travesty of justice.”
Salman, who headed the al-Wefaq group, was arrested in 2015.
Human rights groups have frequently said cases against activists in Bahrain fail to meet the basic standards of fair trials.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested in a widespread regime crackdown.