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Bahrain’s opposition slams case against leading figure

A Bahraini opposition group and human rights organizations warned Tuesday that the government’s case against the country’s leading Shiite opposition figure contains “tampered evidence.”

Ebrahim Sarhan, a legal adviser for the defense of Sheikh Ali Salman, secretary-general of Al-Wefaq, said the ruling the court is set to issue Wednesday will be based on testimony from unidentified witnesses and false evidence. Sarhan spoke at a press conference in Beirut.

There is some concern that the punishment could be the death penalty, which has also drawn condemnation from rights groups, including Amnesty International and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

Sarhan also said that the international community should carry the responsibility for the outcome of the trial, given Salman’s prominence on the global stage.

Salman was a central figure in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising against Bahrain’s Sunni-led monarchy. He was initially sentenced to four years on charges that included incitement and insulting the Interior Ministry, prompting appeals. In May his sentence was raised to nine years.

In the press conference, Sarhan said one of the primary pieces of evidence is a recorded phone call between Salman and a Qatari leader, which has been edited to make it appear as if they are guilty of conspiring to overthrow the government, one of the charges against Salman.

Sarhan says they were only discussing a legitimate political solution to the crisis.

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