Bahrain's opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been handed a life sentence after the Court of Appeal found him guilty of spying for Qatar, a BBC report said.
Sheikh Ali Salman a Shiite cleric is a central figure in Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protests. He was sentenced on charges of spying for Qatar. Two other aides of Sheikh Ali Salman have also given the life sentence by Bahrain’s court. The three faced charges of disclosing sensitive information to Qatar that could harm Bahrain’s security in exchange for financial compensation. The state-run news agency said prosecutors had presented recorded phone conversations as evidence.
Last year, Bahrain state television broadcast the recorded calls between Mr. Salman and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani, then Qatar’s prime minister, during the 2011 protests.
Few months ago, the Bahraini High Court of First Tier had acquitted Salman of the charge of "colluding" with the rival state. But a U-turn ruling came on Sunday. Bahrain had cut ties with Qatar in 2017. Along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Bahrain imposed a boycott on Qatar last year, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cozying up to Iran.
But, human rights group, Amnesty, has described the decision as a "travesty of justice" amid Bahrain's "continued crackdown on dissent". "This verdict... demonstrates the Bahraini authorities' relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent," Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director Heba Morayef said. UNI