Bahrain appeals court issues verdict in Qatar espionage case

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Bahrain’s higher appeals court sentenced a defendant to jail for life Sunday over charges of spying for Qatar, Attorney General Osama al-Awfi said.

A statement from the public prosecutor said the court sentenced Sheikh Ali Salman, of the banned al-Wefaq group, and Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali Alaswad, members of the same group, to life in jail.

The defendants were found guilty of “spying for Qatar to commit acts of hostility against the Kingdom of Bahrain and to harm its national interests, and to obtain sensitive information affecting the security and safety of the country,” according to al-Awfi.

The defendants were found to have communicated with officials in the Qatari government in 2011 to prolong a period of unrest in the country, with led to the spread of crime, violence and vandalism.

It was seen as a direct attack on constitutional order in the country, while the defendants leaked sensitive information to the Qatari governments, the prosecutor said.

The court also found that Qatari-owned Al Jazeera was used to escalate news of disturbances in the kingdom with the knowledge of the Qatari government.

The court stated that the Qatari government had seen firsthand knowledge of the case through the management of its espionage operation headed by former Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim, former advisor to the emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Attiyah, and chairman of Al Jazeera network Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani.

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