Eight opposition leaders get life in jail

June 22, 2011

A Bahraini court has sentenced eight opposition leaders to life in prison for their alleged role in plotting to topple the political regime.

The National Safety Court of First Instance issued the ruling against Abdul Wahab Hussain Ali Ahmad, Hassan Ali Mushaima, Abdul Hadi Abdullah Al Khawaja, Abdul Jalil Abdullah Al Singace, Mohammad Habib Al Saffaf (Al Miqdad), Saeed Mirza Ahmad, Abdul Jalil Radhi Makki and the London-based Saeed Abdulnabi Al Shehabi who was tried in absentia.

The court also sentenced ten defendants to 15 years, two to five years and one to two years.

Ebrahim Shareef, the secretary general of the National Democratic Action Society ‘Waad,’ Bahrain’s largest liberal society, was one of the two defendants sentenced to five years in prison.

The society this week distanced itself from the political slogans that called in February and March for the downfall of the regime and said it wanted to contribute to the shaping of a new future for Bahrain through participating in the national dialogue scheduled for early July.

The verdicts can be challenged in the Court of Appeals.

The defendants, 14 in custody and seven out of Bahrain, were charged with establishing and managing terror groups to topple the state royal regime and change its constitution; communicating intelligence with an overseas terrorist organisation to commit hostile acts against Bahrain; attempting to forcefully change Bahrain’s constitution and topple its political regime as well as a number of other charges.


Ebrahim Sharif

Ebrahim Sharif is the general secretary of the National Democratic Action Society (Waad), the largest liberal society in Bahrain. He ran twice in parliamentary elections, in 2006 and 2010, but lost on both occasions in the run-off. He was arrested in his home in Manama for his alleged role in the demonstrations that hit Bahrain in February. Sharif was formerly associated with the underground leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Bahrain and spent many years in exile.

Abdul Wahab Hussain

Abdul Wahab Hussain, 56, is a former teacher and social counsellor in government schools. He was a member of the steering committee of Al Wefaq Society before he fell out with its leaders. He then headed the Islamic Awareness Society for one year and is now heading the Al Wafa Movement.

Hassan Mushaima

Hassan Mushaima, 63, is the secretary general of the Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy (Haq). Mushaima was the deputy chairman of Al Wefaq when it was formed in 2001. He rose to prominence within the opposition during the 1990s unrest in Bahrain and was imprisoned. He has since called for the establishment of a republic in Bahrain.

Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja

Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja is the former president of the now-dissolved Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). He assumed several positions in regional and international organisations. He remained member of the Islamic Front until 1989 and in 1991, he was granted political asylum in Denmark which became the base for his activism. He returned to Bahrain in 2001 in the wake of the general amnesty. He was arrested in 2004 and 2007, but was pardoned by King Hamad.

Abdul Jalil Al Singace

Abdul Jalil Al Singace is spokesperson for Haq. He was a professor of engineering at the University of Bahrain. He was arrested in August upon his return from Britain and charged with helping to form network plotting to undermine Bahrain’s security. He was released on February 23 alongside 22 other detainees. However, he was arrested on March 17 for his alleged role in the anti-government demonstrations.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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