Expected Reconciliation with Qatar: What about Sheikh Ali Salman?
2020-12-11 - 10:01 م
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Now that the signing of the reconciliation between Qatar and the Gulf states is approaching, especially Saudi Arabia, the trial of the Bahraini opposition leader is one of the major issues that followed the decision made by these states to sever ties with Qatar and take several actions against it.
The Bahraini authorities have accused opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and figures close to him of collaborating with Qatar against the country's interests. Although they were acquitted in the first trial, the appeals court sentenced Sheikh Ali to life imprisonment.
A document leaked with a number of papers known as Hillary Clinton's e-documents, which is an e-mail sent on March 14, 2011 by Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, stated that Jeffrey Feltman confirms the presence of Hamad bin Jassim and Saud Al Faisal in Bahrain on the eve of the arrival of the Peninsula Shield Force and that the former's phone calls with Sheikh Ali Salman were made with the knowledge of the Bahraini Crown Prince and King. The document, translated by Bahrain Mirror, also confirms that Al-Wefaq was discussing some details regarding the crown prince's initiative.
Although most of the news articles related to 2011 are no longer available on the Bahrain News Agency (BNA) website, when referring to the official Saudi News Agency, one can find an official news piece saying that the King of Bahrain met on March 14, 2011 with the then Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Saud Al Faisal and Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani. On the same day, a phone call was made between Hamad bin Jassim and Sheikh Ali Salman, which illustrates the context of the event as narrated by Sheikh Ali Salman to the court.
In a speech marking the anniversary of the February 14 uprising, Al-Wefaq Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Hussein Al-Daihi revealed new details about the Qatari initiative in 2011, and explained that the then Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim was with the king when he contacted Sheikh Ali Salman.
The opposition leader spoke the complete truth to the jury during his trial. He said "the call I heard is obviously cut [out of context] and selected snippets were extracted from a more comprehensive call. This call was made in 2011 in coordination with Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, and was based on the fact that (Prime Minister and former Qatari Foreign Minister) Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim was calling as a member of the GCC delegation that visited Bahrain at that time to help find a solution to the crisis that existed at the time. At the time of the call, Qatar was not in a state of hostility with Bahrain and Hamad bin Jassim was a member of a four-way delegation of the GCC and it was normal for me to receive and respond to this call from them. His Majesty the king and crown prince, who was in direct contact with Mr. Feltman at the same time to try find a solution to the crisis in 2011, were aware of this mediation. "This is the only call I received from Hamad bin Jassim and I have never received another call in my life and I have not met him."
The course of events at the time, the document that Feltman sent to Hillary Clinton, as well as the clear match between what Sheikh Ali said and what was stated in the document, and what Hamad bin Jassim later announced, as well as all the official news published concerning the presence of the Foreign Minister of Qatar in Bahrain, confirm that there is a perfect match between the content of the document and what the leader of the Bahraini opposition said to the court and the whole sequence of events. It clearly shows his innocence, and that this trial was only a political investment made by the authorities in Bahrain to break off relations with Qatar, and based on the desire of its Gulf allies to escalate the dispute with Qatar to the fullest extent, even if by fabricating a very unjust case against Sheikh Ali Salman.