Three Bahraini opposition members sent to trial on charges that include ‘spying for Qatar’

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On Sunday, the Bahraini Public Prosecution announced that three peoplhave been sent to the criminal court on several charges that include “spying for Qatar” and indicated that the hearing was scheduled for 27 November 27.

Counsellor Ahmad Al-Hamadi, Attorney-General of the General Prosecution, stated that the Public Prosecution ordered that the case in which “Ali Salman Ali Ahmed, Hassan Ali Jumaa Sultan and Ali Mahdi Ali Al-Aswad (leaders of the dissolved Al-Wefaq Society) are accused of spying for Qatar, to be referred to the Grand Criminal Court,” according to Bahrain News Agency.

Ali Salman, secretary-general of the dissolved Al-Wefaq opposition party, who has been in detention since 28 December 2014, is serving a four-year sentence after being convicted on several charges, including “promoting the change of the country’s political system by force.”

Al-Hamadi added that the three were charged with “spying for a foreign country to commit hostile acts against the Kingdom of Bahrain and to affect its political and economic status and its national interests in order to overthrow the current regime in the country”

The charges also included “telling and divulging one of the secrets of the Bahraini defence to a foreign country and accepting funds from a foreign country in return for providing military secrets and information related to the country’s internal affairs.”

They were also charged with “circulating false and malicious news and rumours abroad that would weaken the financial confidence in the Kingdom and undermine its image and its integrity.”

Al-Hamadi also claimed that “The hearing will be scheduled for November 27.”

He also pointed out that the order of the case’s referral to the Grand Criminal Court was included in the order to arrest and bring the accused fugitives Hassan Ali Jumaa Sultan and Ali Mahdi al-Aswad.

The referral order comes about two weeks after the Bahraini Public Prosecution’s investigation with Salman earlier this month on charges of “spying for Qatar” before ordering today that the case be referred to the court.

he Public Prosecution’s counsellor pointed out that the evidence was based on the testimony of four witnesses (not identified) as well as recorded phone conversations between the two accused persons Ali Salman and Hassan Sultan and officials of the State of Qatar.

Bahrain’s state-run television had broadcasted audio recordings in June and August that it said were “between Salman and Sultan on the one hand and Qatari officials on the other” and considered they include “an incitement for the opposition.”

The Bahraini news agency reported back then that the recordings “reveal the Qatari interferences in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which were intended to overthrow the regime.” Subsequently, Qatar expressed its rejection and condemnation of the accusation of “attempting to destabilize Bahrain’s security and stability” by broadcasting those recordings.

On June 18, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the contacts were made with the approval and knowledge of the authorities in Manama, as part of the mediation efforts carried out by Doha after the 2011 demonstrations in Bahrain.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry’s statement added that what confirms Bahrain’s knowledge about these contacts was that the calls were made by ordinary phones in Bahrain and that Manama has not raised the matter over the past years, especially during the crisis of withdrawal of ambassadors in 2014.

The Arab Gulf has been hit by a major crisis since June 5 after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off ties with Qatar and imposed punitive measures on the grounds of “supporting terrorism”.

From its part, Doha denied the accusations that were made against it, saying it is facing a campaign of “fabrications” and “lies” that are aimed at imposing “tutelage” on its national decision.

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