A Bahraini appellate court has upheld an imprisonment verdict against prominent Shia cleric Seyyed Kamel al-Hashimi.
Hashimi was sentenced by the Manama regime to a total of three years in jail - two years for insulting the Bahraini king in public, and one year for inciting anti-regime sentiments among the Shia people - during a Friday prayer speech in Bani Jamrah area.
Another Shia cleric, Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was arrested on December 28, 2014 after Manama accused him of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers.
On June 16, 2014, a Bahraini court sentenced Salman to four years in prison on charges such as insulting the Bahraini Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted of seeking regime change.
Two weeks ago, a regime court gave a one-year prison sentence to Ibrahim Sharif, the secretary general of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), for “inciting hatred against the political regime.”
Sharif was first found guilty of the charges in 2011 over his involvement in the popular uprising that began to engulf the country earlier that year. He then started to serve a five-year sentence, but was released from prison on June 19, 2015 due to “royal amnesty.”
He was rearrested last year after criticizing the Bahraini regime during a memorial ceremony for a victim of the unrest and faced the charges again.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or handed hefty jail terms in the ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on dissent.
Amnesty International and other rights groups have repeatedly censured the Bahraini regime over its harsh crackdown on dissent.
Since early 2011, protesters have held almost daily protest across Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family, a close US ally, to relinquish power.
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