Amnesty International has launched a public campaign, which calls on the Bahraini regime to “immediately” and “unconditionally” release prominent Shia opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.
The campaign’s statement, posted on Amnesty’s website on Thursday, said the Manama regime must be pressured to rescind the conviction of Sheikh Salman, who is a “prisoner of conscience.”
The statement further said the Shia cleric, who is the leader of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has been imprisoned “solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.”
The opposition chief has been in jail since 2014 for what the regime has called “insulting” government officials and “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the uprising.
The Amnesty has accused Manama of subjecting Salman to “unfair” trial and using only excerpts of the speeches as evidence during the legal proceedings.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has likewise called for Salman’s immediate release and for him to receive adequate compensation. The campaign demanded that Manama respect the plea.
A key action needed to be taken by Bahraini rulers is to “repeal or amend all laws that criminalize the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” the campaigns statement further said.
The ruling Al Khalifah regime has been coming hard on the public since 2011, when they rose in a peaceful uprising against the violation of their political freedom and human rights.
Scores have been slain during the crackdown, hundreds others detained, and the public’s means of opposition taken away.