Nov 05, 2018 08:08 Asia/Tehran
  • Bahraini al-Wefaq leader, Sheikh Ali Salman
    Bahraini al-Wefaq leader, Sheikh Ali Salman

Amnesty International criticized Bahraini Appeal Court verdict against prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and two other senior opposition members.

Iran PressMiddle East: “This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities' relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director, said.

Reacting to the Bahraini court's verdict, she added, “Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience, who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.” Press TV reported.

An appellate court in Bahrain has sentenced prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, to life in prison as the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty continues with its heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. 

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On Sunday, the court overturned the acquittal of the 52-year-old secretary general of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad, and levied charges of collaborating with Qatar “with the purpose of overthrowing the regime” against them.

The court went on to say that the trio had transferred confidential information to Qatar and received financial support in return. Sultan and Aswad were tried in absentia.

On June 21, the high criminal court in Bahrain had acquitted Sheikh Salman and his two aides of the spying charges.

Aswad, who has lived in London since 2011, has told Reuters that the public prosecutor used secret witnesses and a video from the state-run Bahraini television network to trump up the charges. Experts have described the footage as edited and incomplete.

On November 1, 2017, opposition leader Sheikh Salman and his two assistants were charged with “spying on behalf of a foreign country with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”

Sheikh Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain's status and reputation.”

The senior Bahraini Shia cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has called “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.

Sheikh Salman denies all the charges, saying he has merely been seeking reforms in the country through peaceful means.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups have already censured his arrest and called for his release.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide. 101/202


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