Manama: Bahrain’s High Criminal Court on Monday postponed the trial of three Bahrainis, including Ali Salman, the former head of the now-dissolved Al Wefaq Society, who are suspected of spying for Qatar, to March 1.
Advocate General Osama Al Oufi said the court completed hearing the case and decided to adjourn it “to present the recorded telephone conversation to which the first suspect was a party, and implement the court’s decision of assigning a member of the court to hear the statement of a witness who is under a witness protection programme”.
Ali Salman, Hassan Sultan and Ali Al Aswad are being tried on charges of spying for a foreign country to carry out subversive acts against Bahrain and undermine its political and economic status and its national interests in order to topple the government.
Other charges include passing on defence secrets to a foreign country, accepting money from a foreign country in exchange for supplying military secrets and information related to the internal situation in the country, and broadcasting news and false and malicious rumours abroad to weaken financial trust in the kingdom and undermine its status.
The public prosecution said the charges are based on evidence gathered from the testimonies of witnesses and recorded telephone conversations between Ali Salman and Hassan Sultan with Qatari officials that included agreements and coordination between the two sides to carry out subversive acts against Bahrain.
The public prosecution added it relied for evidence on Qatar’s record of activities targeting Arab countries, mainly Bahrain, and its use of media to incite people against the governments of these countries while maintaining close contacts with nationals opposed to their countries, such as the Bahraini suspects in the case.
Bahrain said the phone conversations were recorded during the dramatic events that hit the kingdom in 2011.
Only Ali Salman is in custody, serving a jail sentence in another case since 2014. He attended the trial accompanied by his lawyers, Al Oufi said.
On June 5, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar for its support of extremists and funding terrorism.
Kuwait has since tried to mediate in the crisis, but its efforts have not so far achieved any breakthrough.