Regional powers exploit Bahrain protests

Shi'ite protesters have repeatedly mobilized in Bahrain over the past week to demand the release of imprisoned dissident cleric Sheikh Ali Salman, as the kingdom's Court of Appeals prepares to hear his case. Salman was detained in December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the ruling al-Khalifah regime and collaboration with foreign powers. He has strongly denied the charges, asserting that he seeks reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means. In June 2015, Salman was sentenced to four years on charges including insulting the Bahraini Interior Ministry and inciting others to break the law, although he was acquitted of seeking regime change. He is now challenging his conviction. The Bahrain demonstrations come weeks after Saudi Arabia's execution of a dissident Shi'ite leader sparked angry protests in Iran and a diplomatic crisis. The Saudi execution also brought Shi'ites to the streets in Bahrain, although it received far less international media coverage. Illustrating the degree of polarization, the new wave of Bahraini protests have received virtually no international coverage except from Iranian state media such as Press TV and Hezbollah's Al Manar.

  1. Bahrain top court overturns sentence of Shiite opposition leader

    The Bahrain Court of Cassation on Oct. 17 overturned the sentence of Shi'ite opposition leader Ali Salman, who had been convicted of inciting hatred and encouraging violent regime change and sentenced to multiple years imprisonment. The court ordered a retrial of Salman, whose original sentence  of four years was increased to nine by the kingdom's Court of Appeals court in May. The Court of Cassation had previously refused to reconsider Salman's sentence. (Jurist)