Bahrain's al-Wefaq leader to remain in jail

Bahrain's al-Wefaq leader to remain in jail
Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the Bahraini opposition movement al-Wefaq, has been refused bail for the second time and will have to await his next hearing in one month's time.
2 min read
25 February, 2015
Sheikh Ali Salman's imprisonment has led to protests and reprisals in Bahrain (Getty)

A Bahraini court on Wednesday again rejected a request for bail from a Shiite opposition chief whose trial for allegedly seeking to overthrow the Sunni regime has sparked international concern.

The court in Manama ruled that Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the Al-Wefaq association, should remain in detention during his trial, rejecting a second request for bail, a judicial source said.

Salman, 49, was arrested on December 28 for allegedly "promoting the overthrow and change of the political regime by force" and inciting disobedience and hatred in public statements.

Salman has denied all the charges and said that he had been calling for reforms in Bahrain through legal and peaceful means.

The case has inflamed tensions in the Sunni ruled Gulf state.

Salman, wearing a traditional cleric's cloak and a white turban, appeared before the court with seven defence lawyers, the source said.

The court also rejected a request for Bahrain's interior minister and the country's head of general security to be called to testify, saying they are not linked to the case.

Al-Wefaq claims Salman’s defense made a request to show a film of his speeches, in order to prove that the clips that that have been used to substantiate the charges made against him were cut out of context. The court refused the panel’s request.

The kingdom, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since an uprising erupted in 2011. Mass protests, led by majority Shia Muslims demanding reforms and a bigger role in government, were put down with the help of Saudi Arabia.