Bahrainis once again express solidarity with Sheikh Qassim
Bahraini demonstrators have once again expressed solidarity with senior Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has been stripped of his citizenship by the Manama.
A mass demonstration was held in the northwestern village of Diraz, Sheikh Qassim’s hometown, on Friday.
The demonstrators condemned the Al Khalifah regime’s continued ban on holding Friday prayers in the village for the 16th consecutive week.
Similar demonstrations were held in the villages of Karrana, Barbar, Shakhoura and Abu Saiba as well as the town of A’ali.
On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped the 79-year-old cleric of his citizenship, less than a week after suspending the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition bloc, and dissolving the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Qassim, and the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.
The demonstrators in Diraz carried Bahraini flags and photos of Isa Qassim and Sheikh Ali Salman, another cleric who was arrested late in 2014.
Bahraini regime forces arrested Salman, al-Wefaq’s secretary general, in December 2014 over charges of attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers. The allegations, however, were rejected by the cleric, saying he had pursued reforms in the country through peaceful means.
In May, a court increased from four to nine years the prison term for Salman, but on October 17, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation overturned his prison term and ordered a retrial.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama’s crackdown on anti-regime activists since February 2011.