Iran Deeply Concerned about Top Bahraini Cleric’s Health: Spokesman
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi voiced Tehran’s deep concern about the deteriorating health condition of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shiite majority, who has been under house arrest for months.
In a statement on Wednesday, Qassemi pointed to recent reports that Sheikh Qassim is in the midst of a health crisis and said the Bahraini regime would be held accountable for consequences of any delay in the top cleric’s medical treatment.
“By imposing severe restrictions and keeping Sheikh Qassim under (house) arrest, Bahraini officials have hampered his access to medical treatment and trusted doctors,” the Iranian spokesman said.
He also called on international circles and organizations to put pressure on the Manama regime to lift the restrictions on Sheikh Qassim and facilitate his swift and trustable treatment.
In recent days, Bahraini security forces have extensively surrounded the house of Sheikh Qassim in Diraz, according to media reports.
The cleric was stripped of his citizenship in June last year over accusations that he had used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The cleric was handed a suspended one-year prison term and ordered to pay a fine.
The ruling against the prominent Shiite cleric also sparked widespread protests and condemnations.
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.