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Bahrain

HRW’s Joe Stork: Sheikh Salman is the Latest Casualty of Bahrain’s War on Dissent

Human Rights Watch said in a report it issued on June 2, that Bahrain’s appeal court overturned a trial court’s decision to acquit him of advocating the overthrow of the government by force. It increased the sentence despite strong evidence his initial trial was unfair and the fact that two of the charges on which he had been convicted violated his right to freedom of expression.

“Sheikh Salman is the latest casualty of Bahrain’s war on dissent, but he won’t be the last unless Bahrain’s allies in London and Washington loudly protest this travesty of justice,” said Joe Stork deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This level of repression will not create stability for Bahrain, but quite the opposite.”

Furthermore, HRW mentioned, “In the speeches that formed the basis of Salman’s convictions, which were available in full through video evidence, he explicitly repudiated the use of force and stressed his commitment to nonviolence. The appeal court appeared to rely on an Interior Ministry report that may have misrepresented the content of these speeches instead of the video evidence. It also ignored the trial court’s rejection of defense efforts to enter the video recordings into evidence. The authorities should quash Salman’s convictions on charges that violate his right to freedom of expression, to a fair trial, or other basic rights”.

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