Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

FCO statement on the sentencing of Sheikh Ali Salman in Bahrain

Tried in absentia Ali al Aswad was elected to Bahrain's parliament in 2010 but resigned in 2011 in response to the government's crackdown Tried in absentia Ali al Aswad was elected to Bahrain's parliament in 2010 but resigned in 2011 in response to the government's crackdown
Pablo Mccormick | 05 November, 2018, 19:03

Iran has slammed the decision by an appellate court in Bahrain to sentence prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, to life in prison, urging the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to stop its inhuman approaches.

I am very concerned about the life sentence handed down by the Appeals Court of Bahrain today to Sheikh Ali Salman, in addition to the sentence he is now serving.

The court on Sunday overruled the previous acquittal and sentenced all three to life in prison for transferring confidential information and receiving financial support from Qatar.

Salman is now serving a four-year sentence in a separate case - "inciting hatred" in the kingdom, which has seen mainly Shia protests against the Sunni monarchy since 2011.

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On November 1, 2017, Sheikh Salman and his two assistants were charged with "spying on behalf of a foreign country. with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests".

Along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Bahrain imposed a boycott on Qatar a year ago, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cosying up to Iran.

Opposition movements have been outlawed and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned - with many stripped of their nationality.

"This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities' relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent", Amnesty International said in a statement.

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Alistair Burt, the British Middle East minister, tweeted that he was "very concerned" to hear of further sentencing of Salman.

Sima Watling, Amnesty International's campaigner on Bahrain, told the broadcaster Al Jazeera, from Beirut, that the court verdict was "absurd".

Instead of relying on other countries and applying security approaches, Bahraini officials better solve the "self-made crisis" in the country by holding real and serious talks with opposition groups and meeting the Bahraini people's legitimate demands, Qassemi said.

Bahrain a year ago ratified a constitutional amendment granting military courts the authority to try civilians charged with "terrorism", a term that is loosely defined by the Bahraini penal code.

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