During his hearing session, Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, called for a genuine national dialogue to produce a resolution and prevent the negative impact of regional tensions on Bahrain.
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as well as international human rights groups, urged for the release of Sheikh Salman and considered his detention arbitrary. He was arrested in late Dec. 2014 for his peaceful political activism and opinion.
“I take this opportunity to call on the King [of Bahrain] to launch an initiative for a democratic constitutional antidote”, he said in his testimony before the court. “My beloved homeland and people are worth the peaceful struggle for democracy and equality which I am determined to continue, no matter the challenges”.
The opposition leader gave a thorough explanation of the basics of a constitutional monarchy and the demands of the opposition during his hearing.
“I will stick to these demands until our dream of a stable and safe country is reached in light of mutual respect between the people and the rulers”, he continued.
He also called on the international community represented in the UN, its Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, its HCHR and the democratic states of the EU and the US to give a helping hand so Bahrain can transit to a real democracy.
“I call on you all to contribute to achieving democracy in accordance with international standards based on the universal rights covenants”, he said addressing the international community.
The appeals court in Bahrain is to announce its ruling in the case against the opposition leader on March 30, 2016. He is to remain in prison despite wide international criticism of the trial which was described as lacking basic standards of a fair trial.
Over the period of appeal, which is to end by the coming hearing, the court rejected requests by Sheikh Salman’s defense team to show footages of his speeches which the accusations against him were based on. His lawyers are confident that these video footages are proof of his innocence.
Al Wefaq National Islamic Society believes that the continued detention of Sheik Ali Salman is complicating the political situation in Bahrain. What is needed is a courageous step that paves the way for a genuine and meaningful dialogue to reach an inclusive political resolution.
There are no justifications for the continued detention of Sheikh Ali Salman over the periods of prosecution and appeal, as evidence that build accusations have not been presented.
Al Wefaq demanded that Authorities in Bahrain respond to the calls of the many national and international organizations, including of the United Nations, as well as influential foreign offices and figures and release its Secretary General. The majority of the Bahrainis are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Ali Salman and to drop charges against him.