PHOTO: Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace, and Abbas al-Samea, shot by firing squad in Bahrain on Sunday

Bahrain has killed three detainees in the first executions since the 2011 mass uprising for rights and reforms.

Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace were convicted of a bomb attack that killed three policemen, including one officer from the UAE, in March 2014. They were shot by firing squad a week after their sentences were upheld by a high court.

On Saturday, prison officials told the men’s families to tell them to visit the prison but refused to explain why.

Activists and the men’s families say they were tortured in detention to force “confessions”.

Two other men, Mohammad Ramadan and Hussein Mussa, remain on death row over their alleged role in the death of a policeman.

The Bahraini authorities, supported by the Saudi military, moved quickly to suppress the demonstrations that began on February 14, 2011. They destroyed the Pearl Monument, the iconic center of the protests, detained hundreds of people, and cut off mainly-Shia villages across the Kingdom. Activists were given long prison sentences,Par with Abdulhadi al-Khawaja condemned to a life term.

Despite the ebbing of the protests because of the repression, the regime has stepped up its crackdown. The leader of the opposition al-Wefaq Party, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been imprisoned and had his citizenship revoked. Nabeel Rajab, who succeeded al-Khawaja as head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been released but continues to face trial for his activism.

Despite the repression, the US and UK continue to support the monarchy. On Friday, it was revealed that Britain is providing another £2 million ($2.50 million) for Bahrain’s security and justice system. In late 2014, the UK’s Inspectorate of Prisons worked with Bahraini officials to limit any revelations from an enquiry into torture and prison conditions.

Bahrain is home to the US navy’s 5th Fleet.

Police surround the cemetery where authorities quickly buried the three executed men: