21 February 2018
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  • » 11/02/2017, 10.13


    Bahrain, Shiite opposition leader accused of 'spying' for Qatar

    Sheik Ali Salman, former Al-Wefaq leader, would promote "subversive activities against Bahrain, threatening its national interests." In 2011 Qatar's former prime minister would have contacted him asking him to put pressure on the Manama government. The activist is already in jail for a nine-year sentence.

    Manama (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Bahraini authorities have indicted Shia Shi'ite opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, already in prison, charged with "spying" in favor of Qatar. State prosecutors yesterday announced the activist fomented protests in the country in response on the indications of the Doha government.

    The investigation into the alleged ties between Salman and Qatar leaders began in August after four Arab nations - including Bahrain - accused the neighbouring nation of supporting terrorism and having ties with Shiite Iran. A diplomatic and commercial crisis that led to Doha’s isolation in the region.

    Bahrain State TV ran a report with heavy accusations against Qatar, charged with having orchestrated anti-government protests that have rocked the kingdom in the last six years. In 2011, former Qatar captain Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani contacted Salman - Al-Wefaq's leader at the time - asking him to call for public protests and pressurize the Manama government.

    Salman is in jail since 2014, with a nine-year sentence for hatred. He will also have to answer these latest charges: "Espionage in the pay roll of a foreign country [...] with the aim of promoting subversive activities against Bahrain and threatening its national interests."

    The dissident will also go to the bar for "revealing defense secrets to a foreign nation and spreading information that could damage Bahrain's status and reputation."

    The prosecutor's note does not clarify the expected date for the new trial.

    Bahrain is a Gulf monarchy ruled by a Sunni dynasty in a country where the majority of the population (at least 60-70%) is Shia and want constitutional changes and social and economic rights. In 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring, riots broke out that the king of Bahrain – a US ally supported by Riyadh – put down with Saudi military aid.

    Last year, authorities arrested and sentenced Shia activists and religious leaders and suspended the activities of Al-Wefaq, the main Shia opposition group, on charges of terrorism, extremism and violence as well as ties to a foreign power (i.e. Iran).(DS)

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    See also

    07/11/2012 BAHRAIN
    Manama revokes citizenship of 31 activists and opponents
    They are charged with being a "threat to State security". Four people suspected of involvement in November 5 attacks, in which two people died, arrested. The Sunni monarchy blames Hezbollah and Tehran of fomenting the uprising.

    20/04/2012 BAHRAIN
    Bahrain, government steps up security ahead of Grand Prix
    The FIA still to give the go ahead to race. The opposition announces protests for all three days of the Grand Prize. In the capital, protests continue. Pilots invited to stay in hotels.

    01/04/2017 10:41:00 BAHRAIN - USA
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    A decision dictated by the need to relaunch diplomatic and commercial relations with the Gulf ally. Green light to the delivery of 19 F-16 fighters and other weapons for a total of 2.8 billion. Criticism from human rights associations and activists groups. The decision may soon spread to Saudi Arabia.

    04/04/2017 11:25:00 BAHRAIN
    Bahrain’s king reforms the Constitution: military tribunals for civilians. Criticism of activists

    The government says the measure concerns persons involved in terrorism. Activists and human rights organizations warn: "vague" measure can be used to suppress critical voices and dissent. Reduced sentence for Shiite opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

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