Bahraini top cleric hospitalized after long delay for urgent treatment
Senior Bahraini cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim has been transferred to hospital to undergo a hernia surgery, 10 days after he was said to be in critical condition under house arrest.
Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society announced the news in a statement on Wednesday.
Al-Wefaq said Sheikh Qassim slammed the Bahraini regime’s total indifference toward the cleric’s deteriorating health condition and said Sheikh Qassim had been in desperate need of surgery for ten days.
The cleric has been living under virtual siege since Manama revoked his citizenship in June 2016, prompting protests and sit-ins in his home-town of Diraz. Bahraini authorities later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by him, in addition to the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.
In May 2017, a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Qassim of illegal collection of funds and money laundering, and sentenced him to one year in jail.
It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines. The court ruling sparked widespread demonstrations across the kingdom.
On Monday, a legal source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bahrain’s Supreme Court upheld the one-year jail term for Sheikh Qassim.
Two sentenced to death
Meanwhile, a court in Bahrain has issued death sentences against two people and handed down heavy sentences to dozens of others over accusations of forming an illegal group, engaging in terrorist activities and killing a police officer.
The court, which tried 60 people over accusations of forming an illegal group, handed down life prison terms to 19 individuals and issued long jail terms, from 15 to five years, for 27 others.
The court also revoked the nationalities of 47 defendants and confiscated all their assets.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide. King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.