A number of independent UN experts have called for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq.
The UN News Center reported on Wednesday that the experts called on Bahrain’s authorities to provide more information on Salman’s detention as it appears that he has been under arrest for demanding democracy in public.
“The charges appear to stem from the government’s dissatisfaction with opinions that Sheikh Salman expressed in public speeches and televised interviews, in which he called for the establishment of a democratic regime and for government accountability,” the human rights experts said in a statement.
“If this is indeed the case, his arrest and prosecution would amount to a breach of his fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief,” the statement said, adding, “We have asked the government of Bahrain to clarify the situation and to provide more information on these allegations.”
The UN experts also expressed concern over Manama’s crackdown on peaceful protests, demanding the release of the people who have been detained for mere expression of beliefs.
“Particularly worrying are recent reports that indicate that peaceful demonstrations following his (Salman’s) arrest were disbanded by the authorities, including through the use of force…. We urge the government of Bahrain to promptly release all those who have been detained for peaceful expression of their views,” the statement said.
Sheikh Salman was arrested in December 2014, two days after he was re-elected as the head of al-Wefaq.