Wednesday 12th of August 2020

NGOs Call for the Immediate Release of Al-Wefaq General-Secretary Shaikh Ali Salman

NGOs Call for the Immediate Release of Al-Wefaq General-Secretary Shaikh Ali Salman

On 28 December 2014, Bahraini authorities arrested Shaikh Ali Salman, Secretary-General of Al-Wefaq Political Society. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Americans for Democracy for Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) are extremely concerned over the well-being of Shaikh Ali Salman and strongly condemn his detention for his peaceful political activities as a leader of the largest opposition political party in Bahrain. The undersigned NGOs believe this move will contribute to further deterioration in the human rights situation in Bahrain and may lead to strengthening extremists in the country.

On 27 December 2014, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) summoned Shaikh Ali Salman following Al-Wefaq's General Assembly conference which the MOI previously banned from being held. On the morning of 28 December, Shaikh Ali Salman went to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The CID refused his lawyers entry to the interrogation twice before one of his lawyers was allowed in. Shaikh Ali Salman and his lawyer were told that the CID will transfer him to the Public Prosecution, however more than 10 hours later he was still at the CID. According to the available information, he was never taken to the Public Prosecution and the MOI has ordered his detention.

His lawyers stated that Salman is accused of inciting hatred against the regime, calling for the Overthrow the regime using force, religiously sanctioning youths to disobey the regime, insulting the judiciary and the executive power, inciting hatred against an unspecified group of people, seeking external support, broadcasting false information and news that may cause panic and breaching security and participating in gatherings and protests causing economic harm.

Nabeel Rajab, Director of BCHR, said: "The silence of the international community has contributed to the deterioration of the human rights situation in Bahrain. The Government of Bahrain has gone too far in targeting peaceful political activities critical of it."

Al-Wefaq boycotted the 2014 elections, along with other opposition parties, and last participated in the 2010 elections, when it won 18 of the 40 seats in parliament and more than 60% of votes. In 2011, the 18 Members of Parliament resigned in protest to the Government's violent response to the protest movement in February that year. Since then, Al-Wefaq Society and its members have been repeatedly targeted for their oppositional stance towards the government and demanding the respect of people's basic rights.

In July 2014, Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, met with Al-Wefaq members in the society's headquarters. In response, the Government of Bahrain expelled Malinowski and filed a lawsuit against Al-Wefaq. On 28 October, a court issued an order to suspend Al-Wefaq from performing any activities until it rectified the illegal status of its general assemblies. Authorities have also summoned Shaikh Ali Salman for interrogation at least twice this year for practicing his freedom of expression.

Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB, said: "The international community and the United States must condemn the detention of Shaikh Ali Salman for it is a clear sign of the Bahraini authorities disregard of human and political rights of the people of Bahrain."

"Earlier this month, Britain announced that it will be building a naval base in Bahrain, which the Government of Bahrain is bankrolling," said Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD.

We believe that the UK's support for the Government of Bahrain, despite the human rights situation and its public criticism of Al-Wefaq Society, has given the Bahraini authorities the green light to further attack political societies.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, call on the United States, the European Union, and other national and international bodies to actively engage the Government of Bahrain to:

Immediately release Shaikh Ali Salman and all other political activists in Bahraini prisons.
Drop all charges against Shaikh Ali Salman in relation to his or Al-Wefaq's work.
Ensure that political societies and activists are able to conduct their work without retaliation.


** In 2011, resigned Parliament members Matar Matar and Jawad Fairooz were arrested, tortured and detained for months; in 2013, the authorities arrested the Political Assistance of Al-Wefaq and imposed a travel ban on his travels abroad over a speech he gave in a public gathering; most recently, Sayed Jameel Kadhem was taken to court over comments he posted on the social media website Twitter regarding corruption during the elections; and two of other members had their citizenships revoked by the authorities.


source : www.abna.ir
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