Defense Panel: Sheikh Ali Salman's Trial Lacked Int'l Standards of Fair Trial
2016-06-01 - 10:58 p
Bahrain Mirror: The defense lawyers of Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman said that his trial lacked the international standards of a fair trial since the conviction was based on exculpatory evidence.
Two lawyers of his defense team, Jalila Alsayed and Dr. Hasan Radhi, spoke at a press conference on Monday (May 30, 2016), after an appeals court raised his 4 year prison sentence to 9.
"Sheikh Ali Salman has always insisted on peacefulness in all his speeches. This was clear and did not need an interpretation of a judge", Alsayed said. "Where did this ‘incitement of violence through illegitimate means' conviction come from?"
Alsayed made clear that Sheikh Salman's trial has been politically motivated from the start. She stressed that he has been prosecuted solely for practicing his right to freedom of opinion and peaceful political activism.
The lawyers noted that they will meet with their client, Sheikh Ali Salman, to see whether he wants to take the verdict to the cassation court.
The defense team also mentioned a number of infringements made by the courts, the office of the public prosecution and the Jaw Prison administration where Sheikh Salman is held. They said the conviction has been based on the investigations of an interior ministry chief officer and the defense team was not given the opportunity to attend that hearing before the public prosecutor. Moreover, the lawyers added that they were not allowed to question the investigations officer on the testimony he provided to build a defense argument. And when Sheikh Ali Salman filed a criminal complaint against the officer accusing him of counterfeiting and lying to the court, the public prosecution office reserved the complaint within 10 days without informing the defense team.
The lawyers also pointed out the fact that Sheikh Salman remained in prison as the trial continued and as the lower court refused to listen to the evidence in the video footages of his speeches, for which he is being prosecuted. When the appeals court finally heard the evidence, it became very clear that the footage selections provided by the public prosecution office as convicting evidence were either decontextualized or misinterpreted.
The Jaw Prison administration was also criticized by the lawyers for failing to respect their client's confidentiality while he is in custody. They said police officers checked the defense papers they passed on to their client and violated privacy of conversations as they intended to discuss the defense plan.
Finally, they mentioned that the bench was changed six times over the eight appeals sessions in a clear violation of the fundamentals of a fair trial.
"We will continue to defend Sheikh Ali Salman, who has been firm on his position that he only practiced his legitimate right to, firstly, defend the rights of his people, and, secondly, to accomplish this through peaceful means", Alsayed further stated.
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