Bahrain condemns pro-democracy leader to 4 years jail

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MANAMA: Bahrain has sentenced prominent pro-democracy cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, to four years in jail.

A court in Bahrain on Tuesday acquitted Sheikh Salman, the head of the country’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, of the charge of seeking regime change and instead convicted him of other charges, including collusion with foreign governments and instigating unrest.

“The regime is pushing toward aggravation and issued a sentence of four years for the Bahraini opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman,” the al-Wefaq party said on its official Twitter account.

Al-Wefaq also dismissed the verdict against Salman, adding that the ruling is devoid of any legal merit.

The Manama regime arrested Sheikh Salman last December, shortly after he called for serious political reforms in the Persian Gulf country following his re-election as the secretary general of al-Wefaq.

His arrest has angered his supporters and sparked many protest rallies so far across Bahrain.

The 49-year-old has strongly denied the charges against him, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the tiny island kingdom through peaceful means.

In a statement released on Monday, Amnesty International called on Bahraini authorities to release the cleric “immediately and unconditionally.”

Amnesty also described Salman as “a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully expressing his views.”

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