Jul 31, 2021 12:52 UTC
  • This file picture shows female Bahraini sports journalist Eman Salehi\'s body after she was shot.
    This file picture shows female Bahraini sports journalist Eman Salehi\'s body after she was shot.

A Bahraini protest movement has denounced the acquittal of a high-ranking military official and member of the kingdom’s ruling Al Khalifah regime, who has been found guilty of shooting dead a female sports journalist in front of her young son more than five years ago.

The February 14 Youth Coalition — named after the date when a popular uprising against Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifah regime was born — said in a statement on Friday that it condemns in the strongest terms the move in favor of Hamad Mubarak al-Khalifah who has Eman Salehi’s blood on his hands.

“The only option for everyone, especially the opposition, is to work in solidarity towards overthrowing the ruling regime, prosecuting authorities and purging the homeland of corrupt officials,” it pointed out.

The February 14 Youth Coalition highlighted that the Bahraini nation has realized that the Al Khalifah regime has failed over the past decades to implement genuine reforms in the country.

Salehi, a Shia Muslim woman, worked as a sports journalist for Bahrain's state-run television broadcaster.

The young mother was gunned down in the street on December 23, 2016 as her six-year-old son watched through the car window.

The journalist was shot once in the head. The killer immediately turned himself in to police in the city of Riffa, which is popular with both military officers and members of the royal family.

The motive for the murder of Salehi is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, human rights groups and activists are calling on Bahraini officials to release a key jailed opposition figure, who has been on hunger strike for weeks over his “ill-treatment.”

Sixteen organizations – including the Britain-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) – released a statement on Friday urging Bahrain to release Abduljalil al-Singace, who went on hunger strike earlier this month. 

Singace was among 13 anti-regime protesters a decade ago, who were arrested and convicted on trumped-up charges that included “setting up terror groups to topple the regime.” He was sentenced to life imprisonment.