PHOTO: A protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask between clashes with police in Maqusha, west of the capital, Sept. 21, 2013

Some of the 50 people imprisoned on Sunday under terrorism laws have been convicted of spying for Iran and planning “vandalism and rioting” which was backed by Tehran, the Bahrain government has said.

The government released a statement saying the 50 were charged with founding and operating “a terrorist group with the goal of undermining the rules of the constitution and laws as well as preventing the institutions and public authorities from doing their work.”

The statement continued, “It has been proved that they have spied for the Islamic Republic of Iran, and have been in touch with senior leadership and members of the Revolutionary Guards and supplied them with information related to the internal situation in the kingdom.”

“They have received directions from them related to training and preparation for carrying out acts of vandalism and rioting,” it added.

The statement did not specify how many, or which, defendants have been charged with spying for Iran.

Sixteen of the defendants were sentenced to 15 years, four to 10 years and 30 to 5 years in prison.