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Bahrain opposition chief sentenced to lifestyles in jail

Bahrain"s Al-Wefaq opposition group leader Sheikh Ali Salman looks on during a rallly in November 2014Image copyright

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Sheikh Ali Salman, pictured in 2014, has been in jail since 2015

Bahrain’s opposition chief, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been passed a lifestyles sentence after the Court of Appeal discovered him in charge of spying for Qatar.

The ruling comes just months after the Bahraini High Court of First Tier acquitted Salman of the fee of “colluding” with the rival state.

Bahrain reduce ties with Qatar in 2017.

Human rights workforce Amnesty has described the verdict as a “travesty of justice” amid Bahrain’s “continued crackdown on dissent”.

“This verdict… demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent,” Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Heba Morayef mentioned.

“Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

Ali Salman, who led the now outlawed Al-Wefaq motion, was once accused of plotting with Qatar to stoke anti-government unrest in 2011, in conjunction with fellow opposition leaders Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad.

They have additionally won lifestyles sentences.

Why now?

Bahrain’s public prosecutor mentioned the 3 males have been jailed for “acts of hostility” against Bahrain and “communicating with Qatari officials… to overthrow constitutional order”, consistent with information company AFP.

But the accusations, which date again seven years, simplest got here to mild ultimate year – after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt reduce hyperlinks with Qatar.

The allies accused the emirate of supporting terrorist teams and of being too just about Iran – allegations the emirate has vigorously denied.

At the time, Wefaq mentioned the allegations have been an strive through the Bahraini government to smear it and extend the imprisonment of its chief, who has been in custody since 2015.

What took place in 2011?

Demonstrators – basically led through the bulk Shia neighborhood – took to the streets in February 2011, not easy extra democracy as a part of pro-democracy uprisings around the Arab global.

But the royal Al Khalifa circle of relatives, who grasp many of the political and army posts, controlled to suppress the protests with the help of neighbouring nations, most significantly Saudi Arabia.

The unrest left no less than 30 civilians and 5 policemen useless.

Ever since, the Sunni-ruled Bahrain has been wracked through unrest. In reaction, Bahrain has outlawed opposition teams, whilst loads of government critics were jailed.

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