Bahrain: imprisoned opposition leader freed after four years
Demonstrators outside the Bahraini capital Manama hold up posters of jailed secular opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif who was released Friday after four years in prison. (AFP/File)
Bahraini secular opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif was unexpectedly freed on Friday after over four years imprisonment for his role in protests demanding reform in the tiny Gulf kingdom, AP reported.
Sharif was sentenced by a military tribunal in June 2011, at the height of region-wide Arab Spring activism, to five years in prison for conspiring to overthrow Bahrain’s longtime monarchy. He was one of 20 pro-democracy opposition activists convicted after a government crackdown.
Bahrain’s majority Shiites, inspired by 2011 pro-democracy Arab Spring protests across the region, launched their own opposition movement with the goal of limiting the powers of the minority Sunni monarchy.
Human rights activists are praising Sharif’s release. Brian Dooley, a director of US-based group Human Rights First called the release a “long overdue move,” adding that Sharif “should never have been jailed in the first place.”