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Tougher penalty sought for Al Wefaq leader.

Manama: Bahrain's Advocate General Wael Bu Allay said the Public Prosecution is appealing the court sentence against Ali Salman, the secretary general of the Al Wefaq society.

"The Public Prosecution has appealed the decision to acquit the defendant of the charge relating to promoting political change using illegal forceful means and threats," he said. "In addition, the Public Prosecution has appealed against the length of the sentences in relation to the guilty verdicts, as it does not feel the sentences reflect the seriousness of the offences. These charges include inciting non-compliance with the law and publicly inciting hatred, an act which had disturbed public peace," Bu Allay said in a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The Advocate General said that the Public Prosecution has provided an explanatory note outlining the reasons for its appeal.

The Court of Appeals will consider the appeal in accordance with due processes, he added.

The High Criminal Court last month sentenced Ali Salman to four years in jail on

the charges of publicly inciting hatred against a segment of the society, calling for non-compliance with the law and denigrating the interior ministry by describing its affiliates as mercenaries and claiming that some of them were members of terrorist groups.

However, the court dropped the accusation of promoting political change using illegal force and threats.

The Public Prosecution said it would study the grounds for the verdict and would assess the reasons some of the charges had not been considered by the court.

Ali Salman was arrested in December after investigators tracked down recordings of his public speeches that promoted extremist views, which constituted a clear contravention of the law, Bu Allay said in May.

"Evidence underpinning the charges also included public statements delivered by the defendant that incited violence and encouraged the use of force, referring to such acts as a religious duty," the advocate-general said.

During the trial, the Public Prosecution reaffirmed the seriousness of the charges levelled against the defendant and requested that the court issue the maximum penalty applicable in accordance with Bahrain's penal code.

Bu Allay said the defendant had been afforded full legal rights and provided with the opportunity to meet his family and his legal team throughout the trial.

The court had heard from both prosecution and defence witnesses and the recordings of the defendant's public statements and sermons. The minutes of the trial had also been provided to the defence team.

Bu Allay added that the court had previously ordered all evidence presented before it to be shared with the defence team and directly with the defendant while he was in detention.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jul 7, 2015
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