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Bahraini protesters demand release of Sheikh Salman

30 April 2016 12:00



Bahraini protesters have once again taken to the streets to express resentment with the continued detention of the leading opposition figure and Shia cleric, Sheikh Ali Salman.

Demonstrators held a rally in the northwestern village of Diraz, about 12 kilometers (7 miles) west of the capital, Manama, following Friday prayers, demanding the release of Salman, who heads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.

The protesters, carrying portraits of Salman and Bahrain’s national flags, also called for the immediate release of all political dissidents currently being held in Al Khalifah regime’s detention facilities.

Sheikh Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014, on charges of attempting to overthrow the Manama regime and collaborating with foreign powers. He denies the charges, saying he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.

In June 2015, a Bahraini court sentenced him to four years in prison on charges such as insulting the Bahraini Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted of seeking regime change.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has repeatedly called on the Manama regime to immediately release the al-Wefaq leader.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on an almost daily basis in Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on the peaceful protests.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the crackdown.

Amnesty and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime over the rampant human rights abuses against opposition activists and anti-regime protesters.

The United States, which has its Fifth Navy Fleet deployed in the tiny island, and other Western government mainly turn a blind eye to the crackdown.

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