Amnesty Says Bahraini Court Verdict against Sheikh Salman “Unfair, Arbitrary”
Amnesty International said on Monday that the Bahraini Appeal Court ruling to jail opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman for 9 years was shocking, stating it represents another example of blatant disregard of the right to freedom of expression in Bahrain.
“Today’s shocking verdict is another example of Bahrain’s flagrant disregard for the right to freedom of expression,” deputy director of the Middle East office of Amnesty International Samah Hadid said.
“Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience. He has been put behind bars merely for peacefully reaffirming his party’s determination to pursue power in Bahrain, to achieve the reform demands of the 2011 uprising and to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account,” she added in a statement.
Amnesty called the monarchy “instead of punishing him [Sheikh Salman] for peaceful criticism the Bahraini authorities must order his immediate and unconditional release.”
The statement stressed that “the international community can no longer turn a blind eye to the Bahraini authorities’ relentless persecution of government critics and human rights activists with the sole purpose of crushing any form of peaceful dissent or opposition to the government.”
Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, its international allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.”
“Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain in the field of human rights, international allies should use their influence to press for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman, and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain,” the statement read.
Sheikh Ali Salman is the Secretary General of the main opposition party in Bahrain, al-Wefaq national Islamic Society. Following his sentencing in 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also called on the Bahraini authorities for his immediate release. An initial four-year-sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman was more than doubled to nine years during the first appeal. In October 2016, Court of Cassation had taken a step in right direction by rejecting the extension of the sentence and ordering a retrial.
Source: Al-Manar Website