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Iran criticizes prominent Bahraini cleric Sheikh Ali Salman jail sentence

17 June 2015 7:14


Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham has criticized a recent court ruling against prominent Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, reaffirming Iran’s demand for his release.

It is seriously expected that the groups which have presented their demands in a completely peaceful manner be treated fairly, rationally and appropriately, Afkham said on Tuesday.

She added that resorting to security approaches would never help settle the ongoing problems in the Persian Gulf country.

“Engaging in dialogue and paying heed to the demands of moderate figures and groups will definitely guarantee security and peace” in Bahrain, the Iranian spokesperson stated.

Earlier in the day, a court in Bahrain sentenced Sheikh Salman, the head of the country’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, to four years in prison after convicting him on charges including collusion with foreign governments and instigating unrest. He was acquitted on seeking regime change charges.

Abdullah al-Shamlawi, Salman’s defense lawyer, said he can appeal the verdict.

Al-Wefaq dismissed the verdict against Salman, adding that the ruling is devoid of any legal merit.

Salman was detained on December 28, 2014 on charges of “attempting to overthrow the incumbent regime and collaboration with foreign powers.” The 49-year-old cleric has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.

In a statement released on Monday, Amnesty International called on Bahraini authorities to release the prominent Shia cleric “immediately and unconditionally.”

Amnesty also described Salman as “a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully expressing his views.”

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