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Al Wefaq loses final appeal against dissolution.

BAHRAIN'S highest court has thrown out a final appeal filed by the country's main opposition group against its dissolution.

Al Wefaq National Islamic Society was dissolved by the High Civil Court on July 17, 2016 following a request by the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry.

On September 22 the same year, the Supreme Civil Appeals Court upheld the verdict to dissolve the society and liquidate its funds for "deviating from political activities", inciting violence and calling for participation in illegal rallies, which could have led to widespread sectarianism.

Defence lawyers then filed an urged request at the Cassation Court to halt the liquidation which was thrown out on February 6 last year.

However, a final appeal was also filed at the same court (Cassation) which dismissed it yesterday.

Charges against the society included disrespecting the Constitution, supporting terrorists, seeking foreign intervention in domestic affairs, disrespecting judicial authority, using religion in politics, misusing places of worship to carry out political activities and inciting people to disobey the law.

It was also accused of doubting the legitimacy of Bahrain's parliament.

Trucks were seen outside the society's headquarters in Zinj on October 20, 2016 carrying away furniture and other items as part of the liquidation process. The society's assets were set to be auctioned on November 6, 2016 but expert Abdulhameed Al Qassimi, who was commissioned by the Court of Execution, said he had received instructions to stop all auction formalities.

A plea to dissolve Al Wefaq was filed in February, 2016 by Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa after its secretary general Shaikh Ali Salman was jailed in June, 2015.

Ali Salman is serving nine years in prison for seeking to change Bahrain's government by force, inciting others to break the law, spreading sectarian hate and insulting a government body.

He was initially jailed for four years on three of the charges by the High Criminal Court on June 17, 2015 and was acquitted of seeking to overthrow the government.

However, prosecutors lodged a successful appeal at the Supreme Criminal Court against the ruling which then handed him a nine-year sentence for his involvement in a coup attempt.

He was found guilty of all the charges and in October, 2016 he challenged the verdict at the Cassation Court, which referred the case back to the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court for review.

However, the court upheld its original ruling in December, 2016.

Ali Salman is currently also standing trial at the High Criminal Court in connection with conspiring with Qatari officials along with two of his co-defendants.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 20, 2018
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