Washington is urging state prosecutors in Manama “not to pursue an appeal” against Thursday’s court ruling, which cleared Bahrain’s opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman of espionage charges.
During a press briefing, the U.S. State Department’s Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the “acquittal removes a potential barrier to political reconciliation in Bahrain.”
“We welcome today’s verdict acquitting Ali Salman along with his codefendants,” Nauert added. “We repeat our call on the government of Bahrain to release Ali Salman from prison and grant relief from his previous conviction.”
Sheikh Salman, who chaired Bahrain’s largest opposition group, was initially jailed in 2014 and is currently serving a 4-year prison sentence.
Last November, he was charged with “spying for the state of Qatar” over a well-documented mediation attempt dating back to Bahrain’s popular uprising in 2011.
According to Nauert, the U.S. is following Sheikh Salman’s case “closely”.