Bahraini Monarchy Charges Sheikh Salman over ’Regime Overthrow’ Bid

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Prosecutors on Monday charged Bahrain's opposition chief with attempting to overthrow the regime and sent him to trial despite international calls for his release.

Sheikh Ali Salman will stand trial from January 28 on charges of "promoting the overthrow and change of the political regime by force," prosecutor general Nayef Mahmud said in a statement.

Sheikh Salman, head of the influential Al-Wefaq bloc, has been in custody since December 28 and his detention has sparked near-daily protests across the kingdom.

He was also charged with inciting disobedience and inciting hatred against a part of the population in public statements.

In an emailed statement, Al-Wefaq rejected the accusations against Sheikh Salman which it described as "unrealistic" after he himself "categorically rejected" them during investigations.

Al-Wefaq described Salman's trial as "political" and said the authorities had taken out of context his speeches and used them against him.

"There is no real case and no legal or moral excuse to detain or try" Salman, it said.

Salman's arrest sparked condemnation from Iran, the United States and international rights groups.

Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged Bahrain's Western allies to press the kingdom to release detained activists including Salman.

The New York-based organization had said the authorities had failed to present any evidence against Salman that would justify his detention.

And Amnesty International said meanwhile that if convicted, it would consider Salman "a prisoner of conscience".

Washington has expressed concern over Salman's detention, warning it could inflame persistent violence that has gripped the kingdom, home to the US Fifth Fleet, since 2011.

At least 89 people have been killed so far in the peaceful protests in Bahrain since 2011. Hundreds have also been arrested and put on trial, rights groups say.

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