Bahrain Opposition Leader 'Sheikh Ali Salman' Appears before Court Today

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Monday, 11 April 2016

Sheikh Ali Salman, Bahraini opposition leader, will appear before an appeals court in Bahrain, today. Sheikh Salman is facing malicious charges related to public speeches he delivered and in which he called for political reform through democratic transition and an end to human rights violations.

Today’s hearing session is the fourth in the appeals court. International human rights NGOs have said the trial lacked the standards of a fair one. The international community has called for the release of Sheikh Salman, who is Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society. The United Nations’ Human Rights Commissioner, the United States Secretary of State as well as world parliamentarians and human rights watchdogs have all called on the Bahraini Authorities to drop the charges against Sheikh Salam and end the trial.

In this context, six UN experts issued a letter expressing concern over the detention of Sheikh Ali Salman. Five of whom are special rapporteurs; Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Mads Andenas, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michael Forest and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul. The experts said they believed the arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman is related to his open practice of expression of political opinion. They said reports show “The charges appear to stem from the Government’s dissatisfaction with opinions that Sheikh Salman expressed in public speeches and televised interviews, in which he called for the establishment of a democratic regime and for Government accountability”.

The experts also said that Bahrain’s Public Prosecution Office issued statements criminalizing Sheikh Ali Salman through false testimonies in order to create a hostile public opinion in the local media.

They said, “We express concern about the unnecessary restrictions imposed on Sheikh Ali Salman’s right to freedom of expression and opinion and association, without being subjected to arbitrary arrest”.

Al Wefaq is demanding the immediate release of its Secretary General, Sheikh Ali Salman, the imprisoned political leaders and prisoners of conscience. Al Wefaq is calling on the Authorities in Bahrain to launch a serious political dialogue that can take Bahrain to a stable and permanent political solution. The region is now discussing peaceful political settlements for its crises and Bahrain has a good opportunity to represent an example in this direction. It must not follow other countries on the opposite path.

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