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Top Adviser: Sheikh Qassim Stripped of Bahraini Citizenship under Al Saud’s Influence

22 June 2016 18:54





Iranian Parliament Speaker’s Adviser for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam underlined that senior Bahraini religious leader Sheikh Isa Qassim’s citizenship was revoked under the influence of the Saudi regime.

“This behavior of the Al Khalifa (to strip Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship) started when the Bahraini people asked for the establishment of democracy in their country and this enraged the Saudi rulers because they were afraid that the wave of freedom-seeking and democracy would also spread to their country,” Sheikholeslam said.

He said that Bahrain is currently under the Saudi occupation and all the hostile measures, including stripping Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship, taking place against the Bahraini people are done under the occupation of Bahrain, and as per international regulations, the occupying country is responsible for whatever happening in the country under its occupation.

He underlined that there are no logical and legal justification for stripping Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship.

Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced in an statement on Monday the country’s top Shiite cleric was stripped of his citizenship.

“Isa Ahmed Qassim has been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship,” Bahrain state news agency cited the ministry’s statement, referring to the country’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric in Bahrain.

The latest move by the Bahrain regime against the country’s main opposition figures came as the Al-Khalifah regime is exerting mounting pressure on the opposition.

Opposition members feel the government is willing to accelerate its crackdown on dissent because it believes it will only face minimal censure through statements of concern in the US and Europe. Both the US and UK have large naval bases in Bahrain.

Last week, the government suspended the main Shia opposition party, al-Wefaq, accusing it of having links to foreign terrorists and inciting hatred. Sheikh Ali Salman, al-Wefaq’s secretary-general, was arrested in 2014 on charges of inciting violence. His sentence was doubled to nine years on appeal last month.

The cabinet decided to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Isa — an indigenous Bahraini who applied for nationality to get a passport in the 1960s — after a presentation by the interior ministry. The lack of judicial oversight raised concerns among rights groups.

Stripping the nationality of dissidents has become a popular tool for Persian Gulf Arab littoral states battling domestic dissent, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where nationality is perceived by many as a privilege not a right.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says more than 250 Bahrainis have been stripped of their nationality for alleged disloyalty.

The move by the Manama regime has also caused anger in Iran and across the world.

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