Bahrain

Sheikh Ali’s Lawyers say Court of Appeals Blocked Exculpatory Evidence

The defense lawyers of Sheikh Ali Salman, opposition leader and Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, said they have been denied right to present evidence again, this time, by the Court of Appeals in Salman’s first hearing.

Jalila Alsayed and Abdullah Alshamlawi, both members of Salman’s defense panel, said in a press conference on Wednesday that the recording of his public speech, which the court rejected to show, provides sufficient evidence to acquit him.

Sheikh Ali Salman was sentenced to four years in prison last June without been ensured right to defense and argument in court. He has been locked up since late December 2014.

The Court of Appeals also rejected the lawyers’ request to release Salman citing investigation into their complaint against the interrogations officer for presenting a false testimony.

The lawyers revealed that the Ministry of Interior forced the prison’s administration to pass their papers to Salman only after the Ministry views them, in a blatant violation to confidentiality between the defendant and his lawyers.

The Public Prosecution Office and state officials were criticized by the lawyers for their statements on the Bahrain News Agency site condemning Sheikh Ali Salman before the judiciary has had its say in the case. The Prosecution Office is a branch of the judiciary and should not be using the media to create a public opinion in the case, they added, its role must be limited to presenting evidence within the legal procedures.

The lawyers said the case is moving in the same direction as it had been all the way, and that they are not expecting positive outcomes from this trial.

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