Statement issued by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society in Bahrain
The statement issued by the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs is bombastic and reflects the regime’s shock at the wide international reaction at the conviction of Al Wefaq’s Secretary General, Sheikh Ali Salman. The Foreign Ministry’s statement included false information and accusations against Salman and which were not mentioned by the judiciary, which in itself is a crime.
The recordings presented by the regime as evidence against Salman was clearly trimmed and linked with other added parts. The defense panel presented a video recording to reveal this manipulation but the court refused to listen to their defense.
Al Wefaq points out that the charges of which Salman has been sentenced for are related to freedom of expression and demands for political reforms. Furthermore, the defense lawyers as well as the well known international human rights organizations and the UN’s OHCHR have clearly said that Salman has not been given right to fair trial. Thus, the Foreign Ministry’s statement is an attempt to mislead the international community and whitewash the politically-motivated trial.
Al Wefaq also highlights that freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration in Bahrain is crushed in Bahrain. At least two thousand Bahrainis are jailed for political reasons or those relating to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration. Online and on-ground critical voices are pursued and locked behind bars.
Thus, the Foreign Ministry’s statement further reveals a clear desire to block any reform horizon. Reform requires a true desire and belief from all sides and cannot be expected by signing international conventions and declarations or through cosmetic official institutions that whitewash abuses and corruption.
Al Wefaq English Media Unit