Iran concerned over extension of Sheikh Salman custody
Iran has expressed grave concern over the case of Bahrain’s detained opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, stressing that crackdown on political activists will not help improve the situation in the country.
The extension of Salman’s remand in custody is a nonstarter when it come to settling problems in Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said after the trial of the detained opposition leader, which was set to resume on Wednesday, was adjourned until May 20.
Sheikh Salman, who serves as the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was arrested in December 2014 on charges of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers. Salman and his party have vehemently rejected the allegation.
“The continuation of the security situation and police-state conditions in Bahrain will further complicate matters” in the country, the spokeswoman further stressed.
She further called on Bahraini authorities to turn to dialog rather than repression, saying, “Setting aside the security approach in Bahrain and the government’s consideration for dialog and people’s demands are of utmost significance.”
“The Bahraini government had better take confidence-building measures” to prepare the ground for dialog and defuse the tense security situation in the country, Afkham suggested.
In late May, a court in Bahrain adjourned Salman’s trial until April 22 and extended his remand.
The opposition leader’s arrest has triggered condemnation inside and outside Bahrain, with leaders, governments and international organizations across the world calling for his immediate release.
Bahrain has witnessed protests on an almost daily basis against the Al Khalifa regime since early 2011.
The Manama regime has been severely criticized by human rights groups for its harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has claimed the lives of scores of people so far.
In its recent report titled, “Behind the Rhetoric: Human rights abuses in Bahrain continue unabated,” Amnesty International censured Manama for resorting to torture, arbitrary detentions and the excessive use of force against peaceful government critics, including some as young as 17.