EU condemns jailing of Bahraini opposition leader

Published June 18th, 2015 - 05:30 GMT

The European Union has condemned a recent court ruling against prominent Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, saying it is against efforts towards "a lasting and inclusive national reconciliation in Bahrain."

In a statement released on Wednesday, the EU expressed hope for the reconsideration of a four-year jail sentence against Salman, the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, by an appeal court “in a fair and transparent manner.”

“A sustainable political process leading to gradual and inclusive reform requires an environment where legitimate and peaceful grievances can be expressed freely. The release of those arrested in the context of peaceful political activities would also be an important signal in this regard,” the statement further read.

On Tuesday, a Bahraini court sentenced 49-year-old Salman to four years in prison on charges including insulting the Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law. He was acquitted on charges of seeking regime change.

However, Salman, who was detained on December 28, 2014, has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in his country through peaceful means.

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