Bahrain postpones political activist 'Ebrahim Sharif' to November, opposition leader’s trial continues

Bahrain postpones political activist 'Ebrahim Sharif' to November, opposition leader’s trial continues

The courts postponed Ebrahim Sharif's trial to 12 November 2015. The former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) faces up to ten years in prison for charges related to his free expression.

Ahlul Bayt News Agency - The courts yesterday (Oct. 12th) postponed Ebrahim Sharif's trial to 12 November 2015. The former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) faces up to ten years in prison for charges related to his free expression.

On 10 July, Mr Sharif delivered a speech calling for continued peaceful opposition to the government. In his speech (available here), he stressed that opposition to the government must be "peaceful and moral" and called for democratic, constitutional monarchy. Two days later, police arrested him and charged him with inciting violence and the overthrow of the regime.
 
Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights: "Due process is not the right call for international allies and observers to make. Peaceful opposition leaders like Ebrahim Sharif should be sitting at the negotiating table with the government and not subjected to judicial harassment."
 
Mr Sharif is one of the "Bahrain 13", a group of prominent opposition leaders and activists arrested in March-April 2011, tortured, and sentenced by military court to between 5 years and life imprisonment. Mr Sharif was sentenced to five, and had served most of his sentence when in June 2015 the King of Bahrain granted him a pardon.
 
Mr Sharif's release on 19 June came days after the sentencing of Ali Salman, leader of the largest political society Al-Wefaq, to four years. 
 
International observers welcomed Mr Sharif's release at the time. The U.S. State Department announced the end of a 4-year ban on arms sales to Bahrain on 29 June and welcomed the release of political prisoners as a mark of progress. The European Parliament adopted a resolution in early July, days before Mr Sharif's re-arrest, criticising continued rights violations in Bahrain but welcoming Mr the former Wa'ad leader's release. In the UK, an Early Day Motion raising concerns on restrictions on free speech in Bahrain has been signed by 43 Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum.
 
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy: "Britain must not allow her allies to silence voices of peaceful opposition. Free speech underpins all democratic values, and failure to publicly support Ebrahim Sharif is a betrayal of that core value."
 
Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain: "The United States actually used Ebrahim Sharif's release as one of the pretexts of lifting the arms suspension on Bahrain. His rearrest undermines the American position. Where is the outcry against this miscarriage of justice?"




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