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Bahrain opposition chief gets life in jail over Qatar spy case

AFP  |  Dubai 

Bahrain's appeals court sentenced the of the country's Shiite opposition movement to jail for life Sunday over charges of spying for rival Gulf state Qatar, a judicial source said.

Sheikh Ali Salman, who headed the now-outlawed movement, had been acquitted by the high criminal court in June, a verdit the public prosecution appealed.

The latest ruling on Sunday can also be appealed.

Bahrain, along with and the United Arab Emirates, severed all ties with in 2017, banning their citizens from travel to or communication with the emirate over what they say are Doha's ties to both and radical Islamist groups.

Salman is currently serving a four-year sentence in a separate case -- "inciting hatred" in the kingdom, which has seen mainly Shiite protests against the Sunni monarchy since 2011.

In November, Salman and two other members of were charged with working for with the aim of overthrowing the

has announced on November 24 in Members of dissolved opposition parties, including and the secular Al-Waad group, are banned from running.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf state has been hit by waves of unrest since 2011, when security forces crushed Shiite-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an

Opposition movements have been outlawed and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned -- with many stripped of their nationality.

last year ratified a constitutional amendment granting military courts the authority to try civilians charged with terrorism, a term that is loosely defined by the Bahraini penal code.

In June, the kingdom amended its law on political rights, prohibiting "leaders and members of political associations dissolved for violating the kingdom's constitution or its laws" from running in legislative elections.

Bahrain, a key ally of the and home to the US Fifth Fleet, accuses Shiite of provoking unrest in the kingdom. denies the allegations. The and rights groups including International and have criticised the Bahraini monarchy over its treatment of protesters.

and HRW categorise Salman and other jailed opposition leaders prisoners of conscience.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 14:10 IST