Iranian MPs back Bahrain’s Sheikh Qassim ahead of cleric’s trial
Iranian lawmakers have expressed their support for Bahraini Shia opposition cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, warning the Manama regime of a backlash due to the prominent cleric’s prosecution.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, a total of 158 lawmakers said that Sheikh Qassim was denied the right to a fair trial, stressing that the cleric’s prosecution was in line with efforts to silence the Bahraini nation’s call for freedom.
The Iranian lawmakers voiced solidarity with the Bahraini nation and condemned the prosecution of Sheikh Qassim, which they said would stir the sentiments of Muslims across the world.
“The great nation of Bahrain, under the leadership of [Sheikh] Isa Qassim, has been resisting in the path of achieving legitimate freedoms,” the statement said, noting that “the prosecution of a leader who has emerged from the heart of the society is indicative of the desperation and disgrace of the tyrant ruling regime, but at the same time it is a harbinger of hope” for the Bahraini nation.
Sheikh Qassim is the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society.
The Bahraini government took away his citizenship in June 2016 over accusations of using his position to promote “sectarianism” and “violence.” He has denied the allegation.
The trial of the prominent cleric, which has been postponed several times, is to be held on May 21, according to reports.
Bahrain has been witnessing a popular uprising against the ruling Al Khalifah regime since February 2011, with anti-regime protesters taking to the streets on an almost daily basis.
The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.