Bahrain court denies bail for opposition chief Ali Salman

Friday 11/09/2015
Prosecution wants a tougher sentence

MANAMA - Bahrain's appeals court refused bail Tuesday for Shiite opposition chief Ali Salman pending its review of his conviction for inciting disobedience and hatred, while the prosecution demanded his four-year sentence be stiffened.

Salman was convicted of those two charges in June, but acquitted of the more serious one of seeking to topple the monarchy and change the political system in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state.

Cleric Salman was dressed in a grey prison uniform, instead of his usual cloak, and was escorted by a large number of police when he was taken out of court in handcuffs, the source said.

The court rejected a request for bail by Salman's defence team.

And the prosecution called for annulling Salman's acquittal for plotting to overthrow the regime, demanding a tougher sentence.

The court adjourned the case until October 14.

Salman heads the Al-Wefaq Shiite political association, which once held the most seats in parliament.

Its 18 MPs walked out in 2011 to protest violence against demonstrators during nationwide pro-democracy protests.

The group boycotted the last election, held in November.

On Tuesday Wefaq denounced the court's denial of bail for Salman.

"Bahrain continues to turn its back on international calls to abolish trials that lack international standards of a fair trial," a statement said.

Tiny but strategic Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by unrest since a 2011 Shiite-led uprising demanding a constitutional monarchy and more representative government.

Despite a widespread crackdown, protesters continue to clash frequently with security forces in Shiite villages outside Manama.