UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion & Expression Condemns Sheikh Ali Salman’s Sentence
2016-06-02 - 8:12 p
Bahrain Mirror: The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, condemned the Bahraini appeals court ruling, sentencing Sheikh Ali al-Salman, the leader of the Wefaq opposition party in Bahrain, to nine years in prison on "charges of inciting violence."
In a statement issued on Wednesday (June 1, 2016), Kaye said: "The sentencing of Sheik Ali al-Salman seems to confirm a worrying trend of political repression further shrinking the space for any form of dissent in Bahrain today."
A Bahraini court of appeal more than doubled Sheikh Salman's prison term, up from an earlier four years.
"The arbitrary sentencing of such a prominent political leader to nine years of detention inevitably has a strong chilling effect for the entire society," the statement further read.
"The fact that the sentence against Ali al-Salman was not only confirmed, but doubled following various statements indicating international concern on his trial, is deeply disappointing." stressed Kaye.
The Bahraini law allows the defendant to challenge the verdict before the court of cassation.
"I reiterate the calls for the release of Ali Salman and all other persons detained for the peaceful and legitimate exercise of their freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association in Bahrain," the UN Special Rapporteur further stated.
"Silencing the opposition is never an acceptable or effective response to situations of political instability," Kaye said concluding his statement.
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