Bahrain court acquits opposition leaders in Qatar spy case

A Bahraini court on Thursday acquitted three members of an opposition group of spying for Qatar. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Bahrain court acquits opposition leaders in Qatar spy case

  • Public prosecution will appeal the verdict, says public prosecutor Osama Al-Oufi
  • The court did not properly assess the evidence, he says

JEDDAH: A Bahraini court on Thursday acquitted three members of an opposition group of spying for Qatar.
In November, public prosecutor Osama Al-Oufi accused Al-Wefaq’s Ali Salman and Hassan Sultan of conspiring with Qatari officials to carry out “hostile acts” in Bahrain.
The High Criminal Court acquitted them along with a third Al-Wefaq member, Ali Al-Aswad, said Al-Oufi, the state Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
The public prosecution had submitted strong and varied evidence, including communication records between the defendants and Qatari officials, which proved beyond any doubt intelligence links between them with the purpose of inciting the violence that struck Bahrain in 2011, Al-Oufi added.
The conspirators also worked to undermine national efforts to control and eliminate subversive acts of violence, he said.
Witness testimonies supported the material evidence presented by the public prosecution, he added.
In deciding to acquit the defendants, the court did not properly assess the evidence, Al-Oufi said, adding that the public prosecution will appeal the verdict.
Bahraini law allows the prosecution and defendants to appeal a ruling at the Court of Appeals and the Court of Cassation.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 19 min 51 sec ago
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.