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Al Wefaq leader quizzed over Egypt visit

Manama, October 15, 2012

Leader of Bahrain's mainstream opposition movement Shaikh Ali Salman was quizzed by investigators for an hour yesterday over a visit to Cairo last week, following accusations that his organisation was seeking to destabilise Egypt.

The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Revolution urged Bahraini authorities to ban him and other Al Wefaq National Islamic Society leaders from travelling to Egypt, describing them as "pro-Iranian agents" who were a "threat to the country's unity".

Shaikh Salman was summoned to Bahrain's Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) at 11am yesterday to answer questions about his trip - during which he denied interfering in Egypt's internal affairs and taking part in sectarian activities.

He was accompanied by two lawyers, Abdullah Shamlawi and Mohsin Al Alawi, as he was questioned about the visit which extended from October 7-12 - during which he is said to have visited multiple political societies.

"The General Director of Crime Detection and Forensic Science summoned Shaikh Ali Salman, the secretary-general of the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, on Sunday after he received an order from the Public Prosecution to discuss Salman's recent trip to Egypt," the Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

"Salman was asked if he participated in any sectarian activities or if he interfered in any of Egypt's internal affairs. Such behaviour would go against agreements of two brotherly countries."

The statement said Shaikh Salman told police that he had discussed statistics produced by Al Wefaq regarding the numbers of deaths and injuries in Bahrain, most of which were documented in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report.

"When asked if he discussed a revolution in Bahrain, he said that he did not mean the overthrow of the government, but was instead referring to the demand for freedom, democracy, equality and respect for human rights," added the police statement.

"He said he believes that Bahrain needs political development in order to attain internationally recognised standards in government. He said he believes this is a must for Bahrain.”

"With regard to acts of violence, he said that Al Wefaq rejects violence of any kind, whether it is from the public or the government. He added that during the last rally, which he attended, he had denounced violence and that this is the position of Al Wefaq.”

"He concluded by saying that his concept of a revolution does not mean the overthrow of the government. He said that he only wants proper reforms in Bahrain that will lead to peace and stability for Bahrain's children."

It added that Shaikh Ali Salman's statement had been registered and forwarded to the Public Prosecution.

Meanwhile, Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Hassan Al Hassan stressed the importance of respecting the law and not interfering with the internal affairs of other countries.

"Anyone who does attempt to engage in such activity will be held accountable," he warned.

Our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News, reported on Thursday that the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Revolution had denounced Al Wefaq and its members' visits to Cairo last week.

Its general co-ordinator Dr Ehab Ammar labelled Al Wefaq's movements in Egypt as "suspicious" and said the organisation threatened Egypt's national unity. He urged authorities to clamp down on Al Wefaq's political activities in Egypt and called for the expulsion of all Bahrainis working for the society.

Threat

"The presence of pro-Iranian agents on Egyptian soil is a threat to the country's unity and the true Islamic religion," the council said.

In a statement released after yesterday's questioning of Shaikh Salman, Al Wefaq said he had been asked around 40 questions by police.

"The questions were about the reasons for the delegation's visit to Cairo and the parties which it had met with and what went on in those meetings," it said.

"He was also asked what he meant by 'revolution' when he talked to Egyptian media. Other questions related to Al Wefaq's stand on violence, the opposition's views about the events happening in Egypt and the Egyptian political parties' stance.

"The secretary-general affirmed that the opposition demands freedom, democracy, equality and respect for human rights." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Egypt | Manama |

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