2016: Ebrahim Sharif is Free but Addicted to Prison (Timeline)

2017-01-06 - 9:48 p

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Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): More than 7 months after his arrest over the charge of inciting violence against the regime and changing the ruling system, a Bahraini court sentenced on (February 24, 2016) the prominent Bahraini figure Ebrahim Sharif to one year in prison.

Washington expressed its disappointment with the sentence before it called on through its foreign office's spokesperson for his release. However, Britain, one of Bahrain's main allies, did not directly comment on the incident. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office responded to a parliamentary question saying that they raised the arrest of Ebrahim Sharif with the Bahraini government and urged it to respect freedom of expression.

Amnesty, for its part, announced that "Ebrahim Sharif's conviction is a blatant attempt to punish him for speaking out, serving as a warning to all dissidents." Meanwhile, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, stated that this action "is a blow to freedom of speech".

Sharif's arrest in July 2015 was made over a speech he delivered during the funeral procession of martyr Housam Al-Haddad. Sharif explained in a short plea that he demanded reform, which does not conform with the charges of inciting contempt and promoting the change of the regime by force", declaring that "difference in opinions should not lead to imprisonment".

Ebrahim Sharif spent one full year in prison before he was released on (July 11, 2016). He then returned to his political and media activism where his opinions on his own Twitter account were a source of nuisance to the regime.

Sharif remained the Secretary-General of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) until his first arrest in 2011. The society said that Sharif has an intention to run for the Secretary-General post election after he gained most of the votes in the central committee election in the society's 8th conference, yet this did not happen.

As Prince Charles was visiting Bahrain in the mid of November, Sharif said in his comments to the "Associated Press" that Britain has to call for reforms, adding that "We cannot have absolute power in the hands of the ruling family".

Asked if he is worried about being imprisoned again over his comments, he laughed and said "I am addicted to prison now".

These statements made the government accuse Sharif of inciting hatred against the regime again. Washington called for dropping the charges brought against him. Meanwhile, London expressed its concerns before an official in the British Embassy met with Sharif to talk with him about the charges raised against him. The meeting itself turned into a new charge raised against Sharif.

Sharif took to Twitter to express his frustration stating that "There are those who claim to be nationalists exclusively... and find it too much for me to meet with a diplomat to explain my point of view regarding an interview." The British embassy in Bahrain announced before any official party that the charges against Sharif have been dropped. Will these be his last charges?

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: Bahrain Mirror
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