Bahrain’s opposition leader to appeal his conviction

Manama, Oct 17 (IANS) Bahrain’s top opposition leader Shaikh Ali Salman was given a chance on Monday to appeal his nine-year jail sentence following a decision by the country’s highest court.

The Cassation Court on Monday overturned the ruling of an appeals court against the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society leader, Xinhua news agency reported.

The opposition leader is in jail for multiple charges, including seeking to change Bahrain’s government by force, inciting others to break the law, spreading sectarian hate and insulting a ministry.

The judges on Monday referred the case back to the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court for a retrial.

The High Criminal Court on June 17 last year sentenced Ali Salman to four years in jail on three charges, and acquitted him of seeking to overthrow the government.

However, separate appeals were filed by the Public Prosecution and Ali Salman’s defence team against the ruling at the court, which accepted evidence provided by prosecutors.

The court overturned the acquittal and found Ali Salman guilty of the charge and increased the jail term from four years to nine years on May 31 this year.

The Al Wefaq National Islamic Society was dissolved in July this year following a request by the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry.

The ministry had the organisation’s assets liquidated, accusing it of “deviating from political activities”, inciting violence, and calling for participation in illegal rallies.