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Grand Ayatollah Sistani calls for Salman’s immediate release

Iran Calls on Bahrain to Release Sheikh Salman


Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has called on the Bahraini government to immediately release the opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

An informed source in the coalition of United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) on Wednesday disclosed information on Ayatollah Sistani’s dissatisfaction over the detention of Sheikh Salman by the Bahraini government.

Bahraini forces on Sunday arrested Sheikh Salman who leads Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. Manama announced Tuesday that the cleric was remanded in custody for a week pending further questioning.

According to informed source, Iraq’s Deputy Parliament Speaker Humam Hamoudi has held a meeting with Bahrain’s ambassador to Iraq in which he voiced Ayatollah Sistani’s objection to Salman’s arrest.

NGOs Call for the Immediate Release of Al-Wefaq GS Shaikh Ali Salman

The ambassador vowed to inform Bahraini government about Ayatollah Sistani’s opposition to the move, the source said.

“Ayatollah Sistani views Salman’s arrest as not beneficial to Bahrain. The senior cleric has called for Salman’s immediate release and has asked the Bahraini government to apologize for the move,” the source quoted Ayatollah Sistani as saying.

Bahrain’s arrest of Sheikh Salman came as the 49-year old respected cleric secured a new four-year term at al-Wefaq's general congress last Friday.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous rallies in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.


Iran Calls on Bahrain to Release Sheikh SalmanNGOs Call for the Immediate Release of Al-Wefaq GS Shaikh Ali Salman


Iran urged Bahrain on Wednesday to free prominent opposition group leader, Sheikh Ali Salman who has been in regime custody since Sunday.

"We are extremely worried about his situation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters.

"We want him to be released," she said of Salman, head of the Al-Wefaq movement, which boycotted a parliamentary election in November having dismissed it as a farce.

"We believe that the security measures Bahrain's government has adopted to solve its internal issues are wrong," Afkham added.

Salman's detention, which came on Sunday two days after he was re-elected as party leader, sparked fresh clashes between his supporters and police across the Gulf Kingdom.

The prosecution said Monday that the 49-year-old cleric had been charged with "promoting regime change by force, threats and illegal means and of insulting the interior ministry publicly."

Salman is also accused of “inciting people to break the law and of hatred towards a segment of the people".

On Tuesday, officials said he would remain in custody for seven days.