Bahrain takes opposition leader to court for "spying" and "colluding with Qatar"

- Bahrain takes opposition leader to court for "spying" and "colluding with Qatar".

- Blames the opposition leader and Qatar for the heated Arab Springs protest of 2011.

- Salman is already serving a nine-year sentence on charges that include attempting to overthrow the regime and inciting sectarian hatred. 
The Bahrain government has charged the leader of the country's main opposition party to
court after charges of "spying" and colluding with a foreign nation were levelled against him.

The government suspects that the opposition leader colluded with Qatar and claims this was behind the heated protests of 2011.

Bahrain's public prosecutor charged Ali Salman, secretary-general of the al-Wefaq party, and Hassan Sultan, a former member of parliament, of colluding with Qatar to carry out "hostile acts" in Bahrain and damage its "prestige", a statement on the state news agency BNA said on Wednesday.

"The defendants had received financial support from Qatar for carrying out their activities aimed at harming the status and interests of the kingdom," it said.

It also accused the men of transferring confidential information to Qatar and meeting with officials from the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

Salman's wife Alya Radhi wrote on Twitter she had spoken with her husband by phone and he denied all charges.

Salman is already serving a nine-year sentence on charges that include attempting to overthrow the regime and inciting sectarian hatred. 

"This new case tries to kill two birds with one stone," Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy, at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said.

"On the one hand is Sheikh Ali Salman, who the UN has ruled is arbitrarily imprisoned for his political activity as the leader of the opposition, and on the other is Qatar, whose crisis with Bahrain is being used to further punish dissidents.

"These charges are a vindictive low for the Bahraini regime."

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