SALAM: Politically controlled Bahrain judiciary intensifies sentence of Bahrain opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman

Sheikh Ali Salman’s case to appeal the four-year sentence unlawfully handed to him on 16 June 2015, was escalated to now a 9-year imprisonment, following the reorganizing of the judicial group overseeing the case to include a member of the ruling family of Bahrain. The First Criminal Court issued at 10:15am local time today the new sentence after inexplicably “reconsidering previous charges” which were originally dropped from the first sentencing.

Sheikh Ali Salman is known as the opposition leader of the largest political party in Bahrain, and recognised as a prominent advocate of peaceful change, national unity, and equality.

Sheikh Ali Salman was first arbitrarily arrested from his house and detained in December 2014; after ambiguous and politically charged accusations were directed at him regarding speeches he gave a number of years ago. Many international organisations advocated for his release and the rest of the opposition, and many designated him as a prisoner of conscience internationally.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights echoes the words of international organizations that confirmed the detention of Sheikh Ali Salman as wholly arbitrary, and that his sentence today demonstrates the extent that the judiciary of Bahrain has been politicized, and for which is now a tool to suppress dissenting voices.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights sees the intervention of the United Nations, and more specifically the Human Rights Council, as well as the international community, as a significant means to end the use of the judiciary in Bahrain as a weapon to suppress peaceful dissent. Quick and forceful steps taken by the UNHRC along with key members of the international community will steer the Bahrain into the right direction and open up an avenue to end serious violations carried out by the Bahraini authorities.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights demands the quick release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all political prisoners, which have now come to 4000 in prison according to a number of independent reports. In addition, put to justice all human rights violators, from torturers to murderers, and those that stoke sectarian violence. It is time for proper and open dialogue with the opposition of Bahrain, to allow for the exercise of the internationally-enshrined self-determination solution to end the crisis.
SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
30 May 2016