Bahraini Shiite Muslim women attend the funeral of 16-year-old Hussam al-Haddad in Muharreq on August 18, 2012.

Story highlights

State media say the teen attacked the police

Activists dispute that account, saying the teen was unarmed

The death comes after a prominent activist was sentenced to three years in prison

CNN —  

A Bahraini teenager died after clashes with authorities who used excess force, human rights activists said Saturday.

The death Friday night comes a day after a prominent activist was sentenced to three years in prison for participating in anti-government protests.

Officials said the boy was killed after he attacked police Friday in the city of Muharraq, state-run Bahrain News Agency said.

“According to authorities, terrorists launched petrol bombs at close range, forcing the police to take the necessary actions to defend themselves and innocent bystanders from the potentially lethal attack,” the news agency said. “Sixteen-year old Hussam Al-Haddad has been identified as being involved in the terror act, at which time when he was injured.”

Activists disputed the account.

“The Ministry of Interior issued a statement confirming the death of a citizen tonight,” the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said. “However, they stated that MOI security forces were defending themselves by following legal procedures, calling Hussam Al-Haddad a ‘terrorist.’ They neglected to mention that the security forces were armed and have caused the death of an unarmed 16-year-old.”

Unrest started in Bahrain in February 2011 spurred by popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

But the protests failed to gain the traction of other Arab Spring uprisings after Bahraini authorities moved against demonstrators in February and March last year – backed by troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Protesters and Bahraini authorities have continued to clash, with the opposition accusing the government of being heavy-handed.

The death of the teen comes a day after the Bahrain court sentenced prominent activist Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison “for participating in illegal rallies and gatherings.”

The sentence raised concerns from European Union officials who called for Bahrain to reconsider its length.

CNN’s Amir Ahmed contributed to this report