Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The arrest of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman on December 28, 2014 was a political decision, as the ruling family believed that the apprehension of the last remaining figures of the opposition would lead to the complete liquidation of the opposition on the political level.
The family's decision was linked to a time interval, i.e. the legislative elections of 2014, as Sheikh Ali Salman was required to give his stamp of approval for the legitimacy of the elections, as well as lead his Society, Al-Wefaq, to participate in the event that the family holds every four years.
The US embassy at the time, according to the information it gathered, informed Sheikh Salman that the government would be more stringent toward Al-Wefaq if it continued to work outside parliament, but the latter informed it of the Society's readiness to bear the consequences of its decision not to take part in the legislative elections.
This is confirmed by the first statements made by Interior Minister, Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, regarding the arrest of Sheikh Salman in a press conference held on January 10, 2015, during which he said that the government postponed the decision to arrest Salman until after the legislative elections, and adding that it had endured a great deal as a result of not taking legal measures against him before the elections.
Everything that revolved around the elections was true. As for the criminal allegations raised against the opposition figure, the least that can be said about them is that they are baseless. Human Rights Watch stated at the time that it reviewed the speeches over which Sheikh Salman was taken into custody, and found nothing in them that could constitute throwing any accusation against him.
The accusation was based on the fact that he did not follow what the King of Bahrain wanted. The king believed that the solution was to return to parliament, while Sheikh Ali Salman believed that this parliament could not be a solution to the country's problems in any manner, but is rather part of its intractable problems. So who is in the right today?
Experience has proven that the parliament is part of a totalitarian system controlled by the king, which he uses to launder his decrees. It is by him that decrees that oppress citizens are issued, and on his authority the decrees for their death sentences and impoverishment are issued, while the parliament only has the right to ratify such decisions.
Experience has proven that Sheikh Salman was right when he adhered to a comprehensive political solution that could help the country rise again. The deep-rooted political, human rights and financial crises that Bahrain is suffering from require greater decisions than this parliament in its current form.
Experience has proven that the arrest of Sheikh Salman was a political decision; to put an end to the talk about any political solutions and any joint national action. What was proposed was that the ruling family continues to have a grip over power and wealth, and that the people should accept what is bestowed upon them.
His arrest was an attempt to liquidate the last major opposition figures and groups, and their symbols, and to silence what they believed to be the last voice that could demand genuine reforms that would end the family's influence and hegemony over national wealth.
Was that in the interest of the country? The political situation alone can give an answer to that.
There are thousands of political prisoners, dozens of martyrs, massive human rights violations, monopoly of power, and huge theft of national resources, while the country lies on the brink of bankruptcy, and suffers an unprecedented high rate of unemployment throughout its history, a country whose youth are losing hope in their homeland under the weight of poverty and marginalization.
Eight years following his arrest, the validity of what Sheikh Ali Salman insisted on is proven, which is Bahrain needing deep reforms that can end its decades-long crises that can only be done through a freely elected parliament that leads to the formation of a democratic government.
Until the time comes when the man and other opposition figures are released, it is safe to say that Bahrain and its people will continue to accumulate losses locally and regionally, under the rule of a family that has become a burden on its loyalists and its opponents alike.