Sheikh Ali Salman
Sheikh Ali Salman is the Secretary-General of the Al-Wefaq political society in Bahrain and a Twelver Shi’a cleric.
Salman was arrested in December 2014 after leading a protest rally against parliamentary elections in November, which his party boycotted. Salman was arrested on charges including inciting a change of government by force. He denied the charges during his first court hearing on January 28, 2015.
Al-Wefaq was founded in 2002, a year after Bahrain announced political reforms, in which the country became a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and an independent judiciary. Al-Wefaq has long complained that the government politically and economically discriminates against the Shia population.
Salman’s trial has been adjourned until May 20 2015. The UN released a statement on February 4, 2015 calling for Salman’s release.
- Bahrainis hold fresh mass rallies A march was held just outside of Manama, the capital of Bahrain, to demand the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and other imprisoned activists (February 20, 2016, PressTV).
- Trial of Bahrain’s ‘Sheikh Ali Salman’ Postponed Until April 11, Sheikh Ali Salman’s sixth trial hearing has been adjourned until April 11, 2016 (March 16, 2016, ABNA World Services).
- Congressman Jim McGovern released a public statement calling on Bahrain for his release (May 27, 2016).
- Salmans's sentence has been increased from four years to nine years in prison. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Powers urged for the release of Salman (June 5, 2016, ABNA; June 6, 2016, ALWEFAQ).
- Bahrain's high court reduced Salman's sentence overturning a nine-year prison sentence imposed last year (April 13, 2017, Amnesty International).
- Sheikh Ali Salman refused to appear in court November 27 to face charges of contacts with Qatar to “overthrow the regime" (November 28, 2017, The Daily Star).
- On March 8, Bahrain’s Public Prosecution presented its argument in the new case Sheikh Ali Salman today calling for the “maximum penalty” to be imposed. Salman and his two in absentia codefendants, also leading figures in the Al-Wefaq party, could face capital punishment. The High Criminal Court adjourned the trial to March 22, 2018 in order for the defense to present its case. (March 8, 2018, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain)