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Military court has no legitimacy, says sentenced Bahraini activist

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, June 23, IRNA -- The sentenced Bahraini opposition leaders are not going to even bother to appeal against their jail terms because the military courts in Manama have no legitimacy, says one of the convicted activist.

“We don't have any intention of appealing because we do not recognise the court,” said Saeed Shahabi, who received a life sentence, when convicted in absentia on Wednesday.

“It was a political decision. It is not a proper court. You are not going to get a fair trial. The executioner is the judge, it is totally unfair and unjust, so there is no point at all in appealing,” Shahabi said.

“We don't accept any verdict, so let them produce any verdict they want,” he told IRNA following his conviction along with 20 other opposition figures by a military judge.

Shahabi, an academic and journalist, is a leading member of the Bahrain Freedom Movement and has lived in exile in London for many years. He was among seven out of 21 sentenced in absentia.

“The jail sentences prove our point that the regime cannot live up to international standards of justice, democracy or respect for human rights. That's why they brought all these tortured people into a military court,” he said.

“It is one of the worst scenarios of any modern state to bring these people who are innocent and against whom there is no evidence, yet are determined to lock them behind bars for their lives just because they called for reforms.”

But the leading activist believed that resorting to such tactics in an attempt to stifle the calls for reform in the country that have grown since February will backfire on the regime.

“It will give more cause for more protests. The people, I think, in next phase of the revolution will go to the streets in more force,” he said.

“We have no fear that the revolution will die down at all. The regime has been defeated. I don't think any civilised country will say Bahrain has done very well by bringing these people to trial in a military court,” Shahabi said.

“Even their backers in the US and the UK will not have political will to defend them,” he said.

“It is clear they have made a very, very big mistake. The more they put in jail, the more the anger will be among the people.”

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