June 16, 2015
Urgent Action Update: Jail Sentence Against Opposition Leader Upheld (Bahrain: UA 22/15)
On 12 December the Appeal Court in Bahrain issued its verdict against opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and sentenced him again to nine years in prison after a retrial.
On 12 December the Appeal Court in Bahrain issued its verdict against opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and sentenced him again to nine years in prison after a retrial. He is a prisoner of conscience imprisoned for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
On 12 December, following a retrial, the Appeal Court in Bahrain upheld a nine years’ prison sentence against opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience and remains held in Jaw Prison.
The Court of Cassation ordered Sheikh Ali Salman’s retrial on 17 October, rejecting the Appeal Court’s verdict issued against him on 30 May which had extended his prison sentence from four to nine years. The Court of Cassation based its decision on the fact that the recorded excerpts of Sheikh Ali Salman’s speeches were insufficient evidence against him and that the recordings should have been presented in full to the court. At all stages throughout the trial, Sheikh Ali Salman’s lawyers complained to the court that the excerpts of his speeches presented in court were taken out of context, and asked for the complete versions to be played to the court, including the sections relating to the peaceful nature of his party’s demands. Sheikh Ali Salman has yet to decide whether he will appeal again his conviction before the Court of Cassation.
Sheikh Ali Salman was originally sentenced on 16 June 2015 by the High Criminal Court after an unfair trial to four years in prison on charges which included “publicly insulting the Interior Ministry” and “publicly inciting others to disobey the law”. The court had acquitted him of “incitement to the promotion of the change of the political system by force, threats and other illegal means” which the Prosecution appealed. The charges related to speeches he made in 2012 and 2014, including at his party’s General Assembly in which he reaffirmed the party’s determination to pursue power in Bahrain through peaceful means, to achieve the reform demands of the 2011 uprising, and to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account. He also stressed the need for equality for all Bahrainis.
1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
- Urging the Bahraini authorities to quash Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;
- Calling on them to implement the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which called for the immediate release of Sheikh Ali Salman and for him to receive adequate compensation;
- Urging them to uphold the right to freedom of expression and repeal or amend all laws that criminalize the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
Contact these two officials by 24 January, 2017:
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama
Fax: +973 1766 4587
Salutation: Your Majesty
H.E. Ambassador Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Khalifa
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
3502 International Dr. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 342 1111 I Fax: 1 202 362 2192
Salutation: Dear Ambassador