Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has condemned the life sentences handed by Bahrain’s Court of Appeal to Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of the kingdom’s main opposition party Al-Wefaq, and two other anti-regime activists.
In a Sunday statement, Qassemi highlighted the moderate and peaceful approach of the prominent Shiite cleric and his anti-violence stances, saying that the verdict leaves no room for any doubt in public opinion and the international community that the government of Bahrain is not after bringing about reforms but it intends to intensify its crackdown on the dissent and deteriorate the situation.
“Instead of relying on other governments and spending hefty money on purchasing security from others, the Bahraini officials should abandon their police and security approaches towards the self-made crisis in the country and start meeting their own people’s legitimate demands by holding real and serious talks with the critics and opponents,” he went on to say.
He also urged Manama to put an end to its inhumane behaviour of issuing brutal verdicts and imposing restrictions on the Bahraini nation.
Sheikh Ali Salman was handed a life sentence earlier Sunday after the Court of Appeal found him guilty of spying for Qatar. This comes as months ago, the Bahraini High Court of First Tier had acquitted Salman of the charge of “colluding” with the rival state.
The sentence has sparked national and international outcry. Al-Wefaq party has slammed the life sentence saying the verdict has once again showed Bahrain’s judiciary is dominated by the ruling regime.
Meanwhile, Human rights group Amnesty International has described the decision as a “travesty of justice” amid Bahrain’s “continued crackdown on dissent”.