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Bahrain court toughens sentence against opposition chief

Manama: Bahrain’s Court of Appeals on Monday toughened a sentence against Ali Salman, the secretary general of Al Wefaq Society, after it included a charge dropped last year by a lower court.

Under the new ruling, Ali Salman will have to spend a total of nine years in jail after he was also convicted of the more serious charge of “promoting the overthrow of the political system through the use of force and threats.”

In June last year, the Higher Criminal Court dropped the regime overthrow charge and sentenced him to four years after he was convicted on the charges of “publicly inciting hatred, an act which disturbed public peace, inciting non-compliance with the law and insulting public institutions.”

However, both Ali Salman and the public prosecutor appealed the sentence, sending it to the Court of Appeals for review.

According to the case documents, Ali Salman was convicted of the charges following investigations into recordings of public speeches and sermons that promoted extremist views, incited violence, and encouraged the use of force against the Kingdom’s authorities.

Ali Salman’s lawyers appealed the sentence and pleaded for his full acquittal.

The Public Prosecution said that it did not agree with the court’s decision to acquit the defendant of the charge of promoting political change using forceful means and threats and wanted to include it in the charges.

The prosecution also challenged the length of the sentences, arguing that they did not reflect the seriousness of the offences.


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