Bahrain Should Release Opposition Leader Ali Salman
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged the Bahraini authorities to immediately release opposition leader Ali Salman, and commended the U.S government for publicly warning that his arrest could inflame tensions.
“Targeting Ali Salman is a dangerous move in an already volatile situation,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The last thing Bahrain needs is a stoking of further tension. After nearly four years of constant political unrest it’s time for inclusive talks to take place in an atmosphere of calm. Detaining Ali Salman won’t achieve that, and instead is likely to make a political settlement even more unlikely.”
Salman is the leader of the kingdom’s largest opposition group al Wefaq, which boycotted Bahrain’s November 2014 parliamentary elections. He was detained last Friday and is accused of various offenses including inciting hatred. The U.S. government has rightly noted that the arrest could inflame tensions in Bahrain.
Other leading opposition figures imprisoned in 2011 remain in jail, and the Bahrain government’s failure to reform since widespread prodemocracy protests broke out in February 2011 has resulted in years of instability.
“If the United States wants a lasting political solution in Bahrain it should push hard for the release of Ali Salman and the other political prisoners so real talks can begin,” added Dooley.