House Arrest Raises Concerns about Top Bahraini Cleric’s Health

News ID: 1564904 Service: World
عیسی قاسم 6

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A member of the presiding board of Bahrain’s Ulema Council voiced concern about the health of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shiite majority who has been placed on house arrest by the Manama regime, saying the popular figure needs immediate medical care.

In an interview with the Tasnim News Agency, Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Khojasteh took a swipe at the Al Khalifa regime for depriving Sheikh Isa Qassim of medical attention.

While Sheikh Qassim suffers from heart problems and high blood pressure, regime forces have prohibited even physicians from visiting the popular cleric, he added.

According to Khojasteh, Sheikh Qassim has not been examined for more than three months, which is extremely worrying.

The Al Khalifa regime announced in June 2016 that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.

The regime later said it would put the senior cleric on trial on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.”

But Sheikh Qassim did not appear in any of the court sessions.

In May, the regime forces stormed into the residence of Sheikh Qassim in the village of Diraz, arresting everyone inside the house. At least five people were reportedly killed in the raid, and over 280 others were arrested.

The raid came a few days after a Bahraini court sentenced Sheikh Qassim to one year in prison. Based on the verdict, the cleric’s properties worth three million Bahraini dinars (near $8 million) were also confiscated.

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with security forces resorting to harsh measures against demonstrators.

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

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