Manama: Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal on Wednesday postponed the trial of antigovernment activists Ali Salman Ali Ahmad, Hassan Ali Juma Sultan and Ali Mahdi Ali Al Aswad, on charges of sharing intelligence with Qatar, to September 26.
The case was reviewed by the court after Bahrain’s Advocate General in June appealed a ruling by the High Criminal Court that acquitted them.
At the session held in public and attended by the first defendant and his lawyers, the public prosecution said that a series of legal errors had prompted it to challenge the acquittal.
Violation of legal principles, contradictions and shortcomings were mentioned by the prosecution as reasons for the appeal.
In challenging the verdict in June, the prosecution argued that although it presented strong evidence that implicated the three defendants in deals with Qatari officials, to fuel acts of sabotage and violence in the country during the events that unfolded in Bahrain in February-March 2011, the criminal court did not assess them properly.
Evidence presented by the prosecution at the criminal court trial included records of tasks assigned by Qatari officials to the defendants that were substantiated by testimonies from witnesses.
The defendants and their lawyers could not refute the compelling evidence it had submitted, the prosecution said.
Under Bahrain’s laws, the prosecution and the defendants can appeal a ruling at the Court of Appeals in the first stage and at the Cassation Court, the country’s highest court, in the second stage.
The three defendants were 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 in exchange for money, passing on information related to the internal situation in the country, and broadcasting news and false and malicious rumours abroad to weaken financial trust in Bahrain and undermine its status.
Only Ali Salman is in custody, serving a jail sentence in another case since 2014.
The other two are being tried in absentia.