Bahrainis Rally in Solidarity with Sheikh Qassem, Sheikh Salman
Bahrainis took to streets across the country on Sunday, expressing solidarity with prominent Shiaa clerics, Sheikh Issa al-Qassem and Sheikh Ali Salman, whose trials were adjourned.
Earlier on Sunday, a Bahraini court has convicted dozens of the country’s citizens to death, life in prison, and denationalization over allegations of murder and terrorism amid heightened security measures.
The country, meanwhile on Sunday, held hearings for Sheikh Qassem, a senior Shiaa cleric, and Sheikh Salman, who headed the al-Wefaq opposition group, Bahrain’s largest parliamentary bloc before dissolution by the Manama regime.
Following the hearings, Bahrainis took part in several rallies in Abu Saibah, Sitra, Maamir, Bilad al-Qadim and the besieged town of Diraz.
Sheikh Salman was arrested in December 2014 for backing reforms in the country through peaceful means. He was then sentenced on June 16, 2015 to four years in prison at a trial, which charged him with “publicly insulting the Interior Ministry” and “publicly inciting others to disobey the law” through his speeches. Amnesty International described that trial as “unfair.”
After appealing the verdict, the Supreme Court of Appeal increased Salman’s prison sentence to nine years in May on charges of inciting violence and calling for anti-regime demonstrations.
In October, the Court of Cassation, the Bahraini court that has the ultimate say in appeal requests in the country ordered a retrial of distinguished Shia opposition cleric, Sheikh Ali Salman. The retrial took place on Sunday, but was adjourned until later in December.
On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped 79-year-old Qassem of his citizenship over his support for reform in the kingdom, less than a week after suspending al-Wefaq, and dissolving the Islamic Enlightenment Institution founded by Qassem, and the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.
Also on Sunday, Sheikh Qassem took part in a trial session in Manama, which was likewise adjourned upon hearing only three testimonies, and without any date being given for the resumption of the hearing.