SHAFAQNA -Â 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 Bahrainâ€™s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, by an appeal court â€œin a fair and transparent manner, in full respect of Bahrain’s international obligations.â€ It runs counter to efforts promoting a lasting and inclusive national reconciliation in Bahrain.Â
â€œA 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,â€ 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.
The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement and the Amnesty International also censured the court ruling on Tuesday.
In a message released following the court ruling, Salman stated that he would press ahead with his peaceful drive to regain the rights of people, and called on the Bahrainis to keep on holding demonstrations in a bid to realize their demands in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
Anti-regime protesters have been staging demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
The ongoing violent crackdown on peaceful rallies has left scores of Bahrainis killed and hundreds of others wounded.