Manama, Jan 12 : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep regret at a Bahrain court's decision upholding the "harsh" sentences against 20 political activists.
The UN called for a national dialogue to address the "legitimate aspirations" of all Bahrainis.
Bahrain's highest court recently upheld the 20 jail terms, including eight life sentences, for alleged plots to "overthrow" the state, that were originally handed down by a military court in June 2011.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said on that Ban believes the only way to promote peace, stability, justice and prosperity in Bahrain is a dialogue where all communities can participate without fear or intimidation, Gulf News reports.
The UN chief urged all Bahrainis to help create a peaceful atmosphere for such a dialogue to begin as soon as possible, Nesirky said.
According to the report, UN human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly also said she regretted the convictions despite "conclusions of the Bahrain independent commission of inquiry and appeals by the international community concerning the judicial procedure and allegations of torture". (ANI)