Called for His Immediate Release and the Release of All Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience in Bahrain:
Waad Considers the Public Prosecution’s Charges Against Sharif Unfounded and Lacking Legal Backing
The National Democratic Action Society (Waad) considers the charges of which the Public Prosecution has accused Ebrahim Sharif Al-Sayed, the former Secretary General of Waad and national political activist, and according to which he was led to the courts on the 24th of August, unfounded and lacking in legal basis.
Waad emphasizes that these are politically-motivated charges, with the goal of further restraining freedom of opinion and expression in Bahrain. These charges violate the people’s right in having and proposing different political views of what our country has been going through. They warn of the country’s fast spiral towards further curtailing political opposition activity, forsaking the promises of the National Action Charter and returning to the practice of state security laws and state security courts that His Highness the King had himself abolished after voting on the Charter in 2001.
Waad remarks that the charges brought up by the Public Prosecution in “inciting changing the country’s political regime and publicly inciting hatred and contempt against the regime,” are groundless charges that the Prosecution hadadopted from what the investigations had previously phrased. These are charges that aim at nothing but the continued incarceration of Sharif after he had already served four years and three months of the five-year verdict issued against him in 2012 – indeed serving five months additional to the three-quarters of the sentence that permit other prisoners release, as the authorities refused to implement the relevant laws in his case.
Waad stands for the same values that political activist Ebrahim Sharif stood for during the investigations and in front of the Public Prosecutions; we confirm that he had only exercised his legal and constitutional rights in expressing his opinion. His speech, upon which he is being prosecuted, falls under the framework of freedom of opinion and expression, sanctioned and guaranteed by the constitution and all international agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as being protected by what the National Action Charter had promised and what falls under constitutional democracies of the like of ancient and well-established democracies.
Waad demands the immediate release of Ebrahim Sharif. He is a prisoner of opinion and conscience, being prosecuted for the beliefs that he holds. This makes his prosecution an outrageous violation of the constitution and all international accords. It strays from the talks of political and economic reform that officials of the state have long repeated. Bahrain today is in dire need of a cooling-off period, alleviating the political and security situation and spreading the values of tolerance and allowing for all public freedoms. This comes through the release of all prisoners of opinion and conscience.
It comes through turning the page on past events with a political project that aims for real reform and the protection of all citizens’ rights; a political project that can put us on the right path towards genuine democracies and the establishment of a civil, democratic and modern state that believes in and implements human rights based on the principles of freedom, social justice and equal citizenship, and that finally criminalizes all practices of discrimination, marginalization and exclusion.