Bahrain: NPWJ and the NRPTT strongly condemn new sham trial against opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif

24 Aug, 2015 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome, 24 August 2015

The trial of prominent Bahraini opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif, former Secretary-General of the left-wing secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), opened today and was adjourned until 12 October 2015. Last month, Sharif was arrested on charges of “violating the law” and “promoting political change through forceful means and threats and inciting hatred against the regime” after giving a speech for democratic reforms. The arrest occurred only three weeks after he was released from prison, having served nearly all of a five-year sentence for peacefully calling for reform in 2011.

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 re-arrest and new sham trial against Bahraini prominent opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif. We express our undiminished solidarity with and support for Mr Sharif, who has consistently called for peaceful protest and advocated for a fair and just democratic political system in Bahrain.

“The new politically-motivated charges brought by the Ministry of Interior against Mr Sharif show that the Bahraini authorities are determined to persevere in their routine campaign of intimidation and threats. As in the past, these clearly appear to be aimed at silencing any peaceful dissent and nonviolent quest to advance meaningful democratic reform, the rule of law and respect of human rights in the country.

“The continued and violent assault on Bahrainis’ civil and political rights demonstrates the fallacy of the Bahraini regime’s claims of reform and can only set the country further along the dangerous path of political turmoil and disunity. Sadly, the response of the international community continues to be weak. It has provided little incentive for the Government of Bahrain to stop its repressive and retaliatory practices and engage in a real and inclusive dialogue with the peaceful opposition leaders and human rights advocates.

“It is way past time for the international community to take immediate concrete steps to ensure that Bahrain complies with its obligations under international human rights laws. First and foremost, they must respect and protect the fundamental rights of its citizens. They must release immediately and unconditionally Ibrahim Sharif and all other prisoners of conscience, including the rest of the Bahrain Thirteen and Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary-General of the country’s largest opposition party al-Wefaq, who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for inciting ‘hatred’ and ‘disobedience’ against the regime”.