Sheikh Ali Salman is denied access in Bahrain

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SHAFAQNA – Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, said he is being denied right to discussion with his legal representatives as his appeal approaches on 14th October 2015.

The court and prison administration are refusing to respect confidentiality between Salman and his defense panel and, he has not been allowed to receive or exchange papers and notes from his lawyers ahead of the trial.

“Since my sentence was issued, I have been allowed a single two hour meeting with my lawyers”, he said, “during these two hours, I was even denied right to use a pen”.

“I, my defense panel and international human rights NGOs feel that my trial lacks the least standard of a fair trial”, Salman stated. ” I am a prisoner of conscience who has been denied self-defense and my lawyers have been denied right to present argument and evidence”.

“I will continue to call for freedom, democracy, equality and social justice peacefully, until authoritarianism comes to an end in Bahrain”, he added. “I put my hand with the hands of all those who call for democracy, freedom and justice  to continue their struggle for real and genuine reform”.

Sheikh Ali Salman was sentenced to four years imprisonment last June, he has been in prison since late December 2014. He is now appealing the sentence. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and Waad’s former Secretary General Ibrahim Shareef. It said, “At the first session of Salman’s appeal hearing, on September 15, 2015, the judge, as at previous hearings and without any explanation, refused Salman’s lawyers permission to present potentially exculpatory evidence”.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director in HRW, said “Salman and Sharif have consistently supported peaceful political reform and should be at a negotiating table with Bahrain’s government, not languishing behind bars”. He also pressed , “The US and the UK are fully aware of the gross unfairness of Salman’s trial and the content of Sharif’s peaceful speeches, and this should give them good reason to call publicly for an end to their prosecutions and their immediate release”.

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