What did Bahrain opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman says in his defense in court?

What did Bahrain opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman says in his defense in court?

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AhlulBayt News Agency – In his oral defense in court on Monday, Sheikh Ali Salman, Al Wefaq Secretary General reiterated the opposition’s call for a national dialogue to build “A Modern Bahrain”.

He called on all Bahrainis to work for a political solution that must replace the current repressive security handling of the political crisis. He said the repression that has continued over the past five years has left Bahrain in economic and political setback with tens of killings and more than 15000 arrests over these years. He mentioned that at least 3000 Bahrainis remain in prison today and freedoms continue to be banned alongside ongoing human rights violations.

“This approach has put Bahrain’s future at risk under the region’s political and security vicissitudes,” he said. “Yet, it cannot stop the Bahraini people’s aspirations of freedom, justice, democracy and equality no matter how long it lasted or which forms it took. Regimes which were more repressive and cruel have failed in this, without exceptions”.

Sheikh Salman is serving a four year sentence for practicing his right to peaceful political activism and freedom of opinion. He has been in detention since late 2014. The Bahraini regime’s courts have adjourned his appeal several times since the sentence was issued in June 2015.

He called on the Bahrainis to stick to peaceful means in their struggle for rights on the path which Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. passed. He said this peaceful methodology has saved Bahrain from slipping into the violence that some countries in the region have fallen into.

Sheikh Ali Salman presented examples of democracies and longstanding constitutional monarchies around the world.

“Frederik Willem de Klerk, former president of South Africa, was as great as Nelson Mandela because he effectively contributed to ending the apartheid era in South Africa”, Sheikh Salman said. “I am calling on the King of Bahrain and the Crown Prince to end this miserable status quo that stands on the bases of tribalism and sectarianism. And which is holding Bahrain from real development and the humanity’s journey to freedom, democracy, equality and justice. I am confident that the vast majority of the civilized people of Bahrain and its political parties are capable of working to make such a necessary democratic transition successful”.

Here are the main points he mentioned to the court:

  1.     “Let us work together, as equal citizens faithful to our national principles, promptly and genuinely, for a national dialogue that produces a political solution,”
  2.     “The tight security grip will never prevent the Bahrainis, who are eagerly struggling for freedom, justice, equality and democracy, from reaching their aspirations”.
  3.     “I strongly stress on my people to stick to peaceful means in their struggle for rights on the path which Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. passed”
  4.     “I call on all those who believe in the urgency of reform in Bahrain, from all tribes, all sects and all ethnicities; to stick to national unity and to maintain civil peace and our Islamic bond”.
  5.     “I call on my people to stick to their civil and political rights and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to all international and Arabian covenants; especially those which guarantee the right to freedom of expression, of assembly and of association. I call on my people to exercise these rights in accordance to the provisions of these international covenants”.

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