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Bahrain charges opposition leader with insulting authorities
November 4, 2013, 9:42 am

It is not clear if Ali Salman will go to trial

The head of Bahrain’s main opposition group was charged on Sunday with insulting authorities through an exhibition that showed alleged abuses against anti-government protesters, a lawyer said.

The charges against Ali Salman, the head of the Shiite bloc Al Wefaq, came just hours after a court sentenced four suspects to life in prison for alleged ties to militant factions and acting as spies for Iran. Bahrain accuses Iran of aiding the 32-month uprising by the kingdom’s opposition, an accusation Iran denies.

Salman was summoned “over accusations he had insulted an official body, the interior ministry,” government spokeswoman Samira Rajab said in a statement published by BNA.
Rajab said Salman, as well as other members of his bloc, had made speeches at the opening of the museum that included “insults to the police and lies.”

Displays presented “models, miniatures and drawings claiming authorities ... systematically violated human rights,” Rajab added.
Al Wefaq condemned Salman’s summons by the police, saying that “it is believed to be part of a campaign of political blackmail and revenge against the peaceful opposition that is demanding democracy and rejects tyranny”.

This comes just over a week after leading Al Wefaq figure Khalil Marzouq was released from jail at the opening of his trial for inciting terrorism.

Marzouq, a former MP, was arrested in September after being called for questioning and later charged by the public prosecutor with “promoting acts that amount to terrorist crimes”.
It is unclear whether Salman will face trial. Prosecutors have the option of not bringing the case to court.

Al Wefaq’s lawyer Hadi Al Musawi said Salman was not jailed after being charged and was allowed to return home following questioning.

Earlier on Sunday, a criminal court issued life sentences against four activists and 15-year prison terms against six others who were charged with links to Iranian intelligence agencies and plotting attacks in Bahrain, lawyer Zainab Zwayed said. Fourteen defendants were cleared.

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