UN raises ‘serious doubts’ if Bahrain opposition leaders got fair trial

The UN Human Rights Office has said there were “serious doubts” whether three Bahraini opposition leaders were given a fair trial, after Bahrain’s highest court upheld, this week, their life sentences on charges of spying for Qatar. “We are deeply concerned that these convictions are due to their opposition to the Bahraini government and its policies,” Reuters quoted office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado as saying. Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of the now banned Shiite Muslim opposition group al-Wefaq, and senior members Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Alaswad were sentenced to life imprisonment in November, overturning a previous acquittal. Al-Wefaq played a leading role in a 2011 uprising against Bahrain’s Sunni rulers, whom the Shiite majority accuse of discrimination and human rights abuses. Bahrain, which denies this, has since banned al Wefaq, and most of the group’s leadership has been imprisoned or left the country.