Ali Al-Aswad: Bahrain's Difficult Years

2022-01-08 - 10:13 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): It has been 7 years since the arrest of Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman. The whole country continues to suffer and remember his nationalist stances and great sacrifices. You cannot forget the name of the most prominent political leader who adopted peace, change, reform, and hardwork, and steered clear of any personalization of political disputes for the sake of stability.

The role of this strong man in his demand for a modern state emerged after the independence in 1971. Sheikh Ali Salman is one of the most prominent activists who called for the reinstatement of the 1973 Constitution, and establishing democracy and respect for human rights in order to promote equality. Sheikh Salman was mostly concerned with spreading justice so that the difficult equation of "Bahrain for all Bahrainis" would be achieved, for Sunnis and Shiites alike, without discrimination. This was the topic he always discussed in his talks with those concerned in the international community, many of which I have witnessed. He focused on the comprehensive internal national dialogue without exception, because he believed that monopolizing decisions does not harm one particular group, but affects all the people of the country.

The authorities prosecuted him for publishing an important constitutional article, "The people are the source of all powers", which is the primary phrase from which his speeches are inspired. The trial of Al-Wefaq Secretary-General was deemed mere political by many of the concerned people in the international community, wise leaders and prominent human rights organizations, as it lacked the most basic standards of fair trials, in addition to the fact that there was no evidence on the charges brought against him. They also described Sheikh Ali Salman's arrest as "arbitrary". The judicial system was not fair and did not represent any form of judicial independence. It was quite the contrary, since it unveiled the falsehood and revealed the hidden dependency of the judiciary.

The main political reason for his arrest on December 27, 2014 and the trial that ended with a 4-year prison term issued by the appointed judge over fabricated charges, was that there was a need to absent Sheikh Ali Salman's political role, and that it was possible to fabricate other charges against him that are linked to foreign issues and settling scores with ruling families. And this time he was sentenced to life imprisonment-a verdict that would make those who know nothing about justice gloat.

There are things that have not yet been issued concerning the trial, most of which are related to the long-term conflict over wealth, in which the Al-Wefaq Secretary-General became a victim after a brief telephone conversation with the Qatari mediator, who was welcomed by the Royal Court at the time, and which took place with the knowledge of the Gulf system, during which he called on the authorities to move the people out of the Pearl Roundabout, the center to of February 14 uprising, towards the polls, and emphasized the peaceful approach that he believes in and does not deviate from, including the simplest event when the financial port road was blocked in March 2011, as the leader of the opposition considered this act non-peaceful, and might lead to the loss of lives, which was opposed by some opposition leaders. However, Sheikh Ali strongly defended it, just as he adopted the non-violent approach. That moment was the extent to which Sheikh Ali confirmed that peacefulness, which he has paid hefty prices for.

The state of justice, the rule of law, equality, the independence of the authorities, respect for other opinions, dialogue, freedom of the press, the establishment of parties, trade unions and civil society organizations are all integrated into building an inclusive homeland. However, arrests, dismissal, violence, closure of society headquarters, expelling dissidents, silencing people and controlling the media outlets are the most prominent manifestations of the practiced official state method, but of course they run counter to the bases of a modern democratic state, which we hope our country could become. The need for the opposition in monarchies is no less than the need for the rest of the executive bodies, but the authorities have eliminated all what the faithful citizens have contributed to correct.

My message for you is to "go forth alongside your people, as you have always been a man with a unified political view for the people of the dear homeland, Bahrain. The whole world has witnessed and continues to witness your efforts and movement of reform, led by reason and wisdom."

Engineer Ali Al-Aswad: Former Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society MP

Arabic Version