Bahraini protesters demand release of jailed cleric Sheikh Salman

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – People of Bahrain held a peaceful rally near capital Manama on Friday to call for the release of leading opposition figure Sheikh Ali Salman and express resentment at the Al Khalifa regime’s decision to extend the Shia cleric’s prison sentence.

Demonstrators staged a protest rally in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated about 12 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of Manama, following Friday prayers, demanding the release of Salman, who heads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.

The marchers, carrying portraits of Salman and Bahrain’s national flags, also censured a recent court ruling on the extension of the cleric’s prison term.

Sheikh Salman was initially given a four-year sentence on June 16, 2015 for “inciting hatred”. His appeal had been pending for eight months but the Supreme Court of Appeal increased Salman’s prison sentence on charges of inciting violence to nine years.

Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

The heavy crackdown on peaceful demonstrations has left scores of Bahrainis dead and hundreds of others injured.

By Tasnim News Agency