Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT strongly condemn sham trial and arbitrary sentence against Sheikh Ali Salman

16 Jun, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome, 16 June 2015

Today, Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq, the major opposition party in Bahrain, was sentenced by a Bahraini Court to four years of imprisonment on charges of “inciting disobedience and hatred against the regime” and “insulting public institutions”. The court acquitted him of the more serious charge of seeking to overthrow by force the monarchy and change the political system.
Sheikh Ali Salman’s trial, which opened on 28 January 2015, has been marred by a number of violations of his right to a fair trial, including to the necessary rights and means of defence.

Statement by Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice: 

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the arbitrary conviction to four years of imprisonment of the leader of the main opposition party, Sheikh Ali Salman. We express our undiminished solidarity with and support for Salman, who has consistently called for peaceful protest, condemned all forms of violence and advocated for a fair and just democratic political system in Bahrain through the establishment of a genuine constitutional monarchy.

“Today’s sentence is yet another clear example that the right to fair trial is non-existent in Bahrain. The Bahraini authorities continue to be determined to suppress any peaceful dissent and nonviolent quest for meaningful democratic reform, rule of law and respect of human rights in the country.

“This is a highly dangerous move that can only set the country further along the dangerous path of political turmoil and disunity. Sadly, the response of the international community to the continued and violent assault on Bahrainis’ civic and political freedoms has, so far, been weak and deaf to the plight of the Bahraini citizens. The Bahraini authorities have used this approach as a green light to persevere in its repressive and retaliatory practices rather than engage in a real and inclusive dialogue.

“It is way past time for the international community to take immediate concrete steps and to react to this latest blow to freedom of expression in Bahrain with the seriousness it warrants. Failure to do so is, in reality, siding with tyranny and repression. A truly democratic transition in Bahrain will be achieved only if all those who are committed to peaceful and nonviolent dialogue are able to contribute fully to the political process without fear of reprisals. The international community must support this process by reacting strongly and as a matter of urgency to a move clearly designed to thwart democracy and human rights”.

Read also:

– Bahrain: over 110 parliamentarians from 43 countries call for the immediate release of Sheikh Ali Salman, 28 January 2015