Alya Radhi: I Saw Sheikh Ali Salman's Tears as I Have Never Seen Before

2021-11-09 - 1:28 ص

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Alya Radhi, wife of imprisoned opposition leader and Al-Wefaq Secretary General Sheikh Ali Salman, said that the most painful situation for Salman was the moment of the attack on the Pearl Roundabout and the killing of citizens who were sleeping peacefully in the events on "Bloody Thursday", adding that she saw the tears of Sheikh Ali Salman as "I have never seen them before".

In a lengthy interview with Al-Mayadeen TV on the Diwan podcast on November 4, 2021, as the seventh anniversary of his arrest approaches, she described Sheikh Ali Salman's life sentence as "shocking and painful," noting that the hardest part was thinking about how to inform her daughters of the verdict. 

"I told my daughters before going to court that we are under Allah's test, and we must be patient and pass the test. When I returned from court, they were (Naba'a and Sara) waiting for their father's return, I told them that the test is not over yet, do not grieve because we are in the hands of Allah."

Sara and Naba'a

Speaking of her daughters Sarah, who only saw her father in prison (Salman was arrested only 40 days after she was born), she says Sarah feels afraid when she sees the smoke of tear gas, or when she sees a heavy presence of heavily armed police officers and police cars, but I always relieve her fear and anxiety by saying that your father is in prison so that you don't feel scared, and be safe.

She adds that she puts Sheikh Ali Salman photos in the house, and always talks to her about him, so that he can be present in her mind, and that she (Sarah) looks at the picture of her father and talks to him as if he were with her. 

However, Naba'a was exposed to several unfortunate situations, namely the window of her room breaking with a tear gas canister, and she was aware of who broke it and why. She also has many classmates whose parents are detained or expelled. When her father got arrested, she felt their suffering and pain even more. As for Naba'a relationship with her father, Radhi explains that her daughter is very much attached to her father and she misses him, because he always devoted time to her despite his concerns.

Sheikh Ali Salman addresses his daughters and says, "I am in prison because a lot of children cannot open their birthday gifts with their fathers next to them. I am in prison because I like to see the sun shine on my country and I do not like to see it in darkness. I am in this cell and the sea behind me, and I want this sea to be for all the people in this country."

Communicating with Qatar and Life Sentence

Alya Radhi explains the moment her husband was sentenced to life imprisonment. She indicates that despite the cruelty of the verdict, it was expected due to the nature of the case, the charges against him and the circumstances in which he was tried, but the surprise was the international silence about his arrest, particularly from the United States, which was one of the parties of the initiative for which he was tried, and was aware of all the details, but chose "empty, interest-sensitive statements" at the expense of real pressure.

Radhi sees that the most difficult moment was reciting the charges in the court. "I felt a lot of pain for this injustice against Sheikh Ali, he was accused of doing so because of the Gulf crisis, and I felt pain that he was a scapegoat for that crisis, and that such a case was fabricated against him."

However, I don't forget the smile that didn't leave his face while the life sentence verdict was being recited against him. "He sees that everything happens in the eye of Allah. He baffled them with his smile, his stability and his pride," she added. 

Prison Conditions

Radhi says she could sense her husband's happiness after his arrest because he was able to share the pain of his people, especially since he was in a lot of pain before his arrest, due to the arrest of citizens and leaders.

As for their last meeting, it was a year and eight months ago, and since then the figures have refrained from meeting their families because of the glass barrier. Then came the pandemic to prevent visits completely, and to limit contact only through visual communication. 

With regard to political developments, Radhi conveys to her husband all the important moves and statements, which is how he hears most of the news. The figures read local news through the newspapers brought to them in prison.

Regarding the alternative penal code, Radhi confirms that no one has offered Sheikh Ali Salman to be released as per such code, adding that "it is not appropriate for him or his status to be released through alternative punishments, or open prisons system." As for not expressing his opinion on this matter, Radhi explains that he left it for his brothers outside the prison.

Arabic Version