Bahraini leftist leader jailed over 'incendiary' reform speech

Bahraini leftist leader jailed over 'incendiary' reform speech
2 min read
24 February, 2016
Ibrahim Sharif will serve another year in a Bahraini jail cell after being found guilty of 'inciting hatred' in a 2015 speech calling for political reforms.
Ibrahim Sharif played a prominent role in the 2011 anti-government protests [AFP]

A Bahraini secular political leader has been sentenced to a year in prison over a speech he gave last year calling for change in the tiny island nation.

Ibrahim Sharif, the former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society, was convicted on Wednesday on a charge of inciting hatred.

The court dismissed a charge Sharif faced accusing him of promoting the toppling of Bahrain's government.

Sharif made the speech in July 2015, just one month after his release from prison, where he served more than four years for his role in the 2011 protests.

The political leader had played a prominent role in the month-long protests and was later among a group of 20 activists tried for "plotting to overthrow the regime" of Shia-majority Bahrain.

The secular, leftist political group Sharif once headed also goes by the Arabic name Waad.

The 2011 uprising was mostly led by Bahrain's majority Shia, as they sought more political rights in the Sunni-ruled country, home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain's opposition is demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

At least 89 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2011, while hundreds have been arrested and put on trial, rights groups say.

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