HRW on Bahrain: Opposition Leader’s Trial Grossly Unfair

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Human Rights Watch issued a statement in which it said Bahrain authorities should vacate Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction on charges that violate the right to freedom of expression and release him without delay.

Human Rights Watch’s Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, cited the court’s refusal to consider crucial defense evidence, highlighting that it confirms “the political nature of Sheikh Ali Salman’s prosecution”. She added, “The manifest unfairness of the trial means the authorities should release Salman immediately”.

The statement explained that instead of reviewing the actual content of Salman’s speeches, the court in its ruling appeared to rely on testimony from an Interior Ministry officer who, according to the judgment, “said that he himself had listened to recordings of these sermons and speeches.” His written description of Salman’s speeches in the Directorate of Crime Detention report, which formed the basis of the prosecution’s case against Salman, may have misrepresented their content.

“In that report, which Human Rights Watch has reviewed, al-Sa’idi claimed that during a sermon on October 10, 2014, Salman said, “The people have bigger and bigger force in them. All that you need to do is call forth this force. I’m talking now about military force.” The recording of the actual speech, which can be viewed on the internet, shows that Salman actually said “I am not talking about military force.”

“The behavior of the court in Sheikh Ali Salman’s case shows again that Bahrain’s justice system has been incapable of delivering justice”, said Whitson.

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