The defense panel of Al-Wefaq’s Secretary General, Sheik Ali Salman, issued a statement today expressing deep concerns over the unusual measures taken by the authorities following the decision to release Sheik Ali Salman.
Salman was called in for interrogation at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) last Saturday, 28th December, 2013, to be questioned about a sermon he had delivered before a Friday prayer a day before. He was then transferred, while handcuffed, to the Public Prosecution Office which ordered for his release with a travel ban. When transferred back to the CID, handcuffed again, he underwent measures including taking fingerprints and photographs. His defense panel said the CID also collected blood from Sheik Ali Salman, which, according to the CID, was for a DNA test. The statement also mentioned that he had refused to take the test and requested the presence of his lawyers, who were told to stay outside the building, but his request was denied and he was told this is a usual measure in such cases. The statement said another security official then appeared and insisted on Salman to take the test.
“We are deeply concerned over this unusual measure, which is also considered a physical assault against an individual’s body without his permission “. Furthermore, the panel said,” the blood collection should be taken in the prison’s hospital which carries out regular diabetes tests for detainees to be released, not in the CID”.
“Al Wefaq Secretary-General, Sheik Ali Salma, was summoned to be questioned about a sermon he had delivered before a Friday prayer, this confutes the existence of any legal or medical requirements for a DNA test in connection”, the defense panel added.
The defense panel said this unusual measure raises fear and questions, especially that Sheik Ali Salman was denied right to access to lawyers.
Salman’s defense panel added, “In this context, we declare that we have started to file grievance procedures against the decision to bar Al-Wefaq’s Secretary-General from travel, in light of the outcomes of his interrogation and that suggested that his speech did not contradict freedom of expression and opinion based on the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and the reports and statements of well-known international organizations. Barring him from travel will interrupt his political activism in Al Wefaq Society where he chairs the Executive Board in communicating with the world. Despite the numerous times he was called in for interrogation and despite the many trips he travels, he has not failed to attend a single interrogation session”.