Human rights and Bahraini opposition groups are denouncing the U.S.-backed monarchy in Bahrain for upholding the convictions of 20 activists on allegations of plotting to overthrow the U.S.-backed regime. The activists were sentenced by a military court last year, eight of them to life behind bars. In a statement, a coalition of Bahraini opposition and Shiite groups said: "There is no state in Bahrain. It is a tyrannical authority, and an oppressive government that tries to look like a (political) system while hiding security apparatuses that terrorize the people to silence demands for democracy." Amnesty International meanwhile denounced the verdicts as "outrageous" and called for them to be "overturned and the activists immediately and unconditionally released."