Bahrain dissident who ‘spied’ for Qatar to stand trial

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DUBAI: Bahraini opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman will face trial later this month for “spying” for Qatar, the state prosecution said on Sunday.

Salman will be tried alongside two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali Mehdi, from Nov. 27 after they were charged earlier this month of espionage.

“The prosecution has referred the case in which Ali Salman, Hassan Sultan and Ali Mahdi are accused of spying for the state of Qatar to the High Criminal Court,” the state prosecution said in a tweet.

Salman has been behind bars since 2014 serving a nine-year sentence for allegedly inciting hatred.
On Nov. 1, the state prosecution charged him with “spying on behalf of a foreign country … with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”

Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain’s status and reputation.”
The investigation into purported links between Salman and Qatar was first launched in August, after the Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and close relations with Iran.

Bahrain Television aired a report, which claimed that Qatar was behind anti-government protests that have shaken the tiny kingdom for the past six years.

It alleged that Qatar’s former Premier Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani contacted Salman — then head of Bahrain’s largest opposition group, Al-Wefaq — in 2011 and asked him to urge protesters to flood the streets and ramp up pressure on the state.
Al-Wefaq was the largest group in Parliament before its lawmakers resigned en masse in 2011.

Bahrain on Saturday accused Iran of being behind a pipeline fire that temporarily halted oil supplies from Saudi Arabia.

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