Sheikh Qassim’s Bahraini Citizenship Revoked with US Nod: Activist

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The Al Khalifa regime got the go-ahead by the US to strip prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim of his Bahraini citizenship, a media activist said.

In an interview with the Tasnim News Agency, Bahraini writer and media activist Abbas Bu-Safwan said the Manama regime decided to revoke citizenship of Sheikh Qassim after Washington gave it a green light.

He added that the controversial move is aimed at reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s influence over Manama.

Bu-Safwan said the situation escalated in Bahrain after US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Manama in early April.

He further attributed the Al Khalifa’s action against Sheikh Qassim to the regime’s frustration at failing to suppress the uprising through military approaches.

Bahrain said Monday that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.

The move has drawn widespread criticism internationally.

It came days after a regime’s court issued an order earlier suspending the activities of Bahrain’s main opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, on charges of “terrorism, extremism, and violence”.

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.

Amnesty International and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime for the rampant human rights abuses against opposition groups and anti-regime protesters.

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