Qatar denies meddling in Bahraini affairs over spy case

Qatar denies meddling in Bahraini affairs over spy case
2 min read
05 November, 2018
Doha has repeatedly denied accusations of conspiring against the Gulf state with Bahraini Sheikh Ali Salman, who heads the Shia opposition movement al-Wefaq.
Sheikh Ali Salman heads the Bahraini opposition al-Wefaq movement [Getty]

Qatar denied accusations it interfered in Bahrain's internal affairs after a Manama court sentenced the head of the Shia opposition to life in jail for allegedly spying for Doha.

Doha has repeatedly denied accusations of conspiring against the Gulf state with Sheikh Ali Salman, who was sentenced on Sunday for "acts of hostility" against Bahrain and "communicating with Qatari officials... to overthrow constitutional order".

Qatar's foreign ministry on Monday said that the case against the Shia cleric who headed the now banned al-Wefaq opposition movement, had been politicised and accused Manama of being "narrow-minded".

"The state of Qatar condemns the mentioning of its name in Bahrain's political disputes and internal conflicts," the ministry said in a statement.

It added that Bahrain should not resort "to the politicisation of the judiciary or use Qatar's name in favour of political calculation that has proven to be narrow-minded".

Shortly after, Bahrain's foreign ministry renewed warnings against "any form of interference or harm to the integrity and independence of the kingdom's judicial system".

Human rights groups have condemned the verdict against Salman, with Amnesty International calling it "a travesty of justice".

Bahrain and Qatar have been locked in a bitter regional dispute since June 2017, when a Saudi-led boycott of Doha was enforced over allegations it was cosying up to regional arch-rival Iran and supporting radical Islamist groups. 

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned their citizens from travel to or communication with Doha.

Qatar has vehemently denied the allegations and accused the Quartet of attempting to impose on its sovereignty and trigger a regime change.

Ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, Bahrain has been hit by waves of unrest since 2011, when security forces crushed Shia-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

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