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Bahrain

Bahrainis stage protest for Sheikh Salman’s release

Hundreds of Bahraini protesters have held a fresh demonstration to condemn the arrest of the country’s prominent opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman.

The protest was staged in Bilad al-Qadeem suburb of the capital, Manama, for the release of the 49-year-old secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, as well as all prisoners held without trial in the Persian Gulf monarchy.

According to witnesses, security forces fired tear gas at the protesters near the residence of Sheikh Salman in a bid to disperse them.

Salman’s first court session was held on January 28 but his next hearing has been adjourned until late February.

He was arrested on December 28, 2014, on charges of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers.

The arrest has triggered massive condemnation inside and outside the monarchy, with leaders, governments and international organizations across the world calling for his immediate release.

On February 4, Sheikh Salman urged his supporters to press ahead with protests over democratic demands in Bahrain.

Bahraini courts have sentenced more than 200 activists to long-term prison sentences on charges of alleged involvement in terrorist activities and acting against national security. At least 70 activists have received life imprisonment since the uprising began in 2011.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch said Bahraini courts have become more active in sustaining repression in the country.

The ruling Al Khalifa regime has launched a heavy-handed crackdown on the peaceful anti-government movement in Bahrain, which started in 2011.

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