Bahraini regime officials have sentenced a Shia clergyman to one year in prison over his support for prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has been stripped of citizenship by the Al Khalifah regime and is suffering from deteriorating health.
Bahrain’s Court of Appeals upheld a ruling against Sheikh Hamza al-Dairi over his participation in a sit-in near Sheikh Qassim’s residence in the northwestern village of Diraz, situated some 12 kilometers west of the capital Manama, in late May last year.
Bahraini troopers arrested the clergyman as soon as he left the court building.
Last year, a court in Bahrain handed down a one-year jail term to Sheikh Dairi, and ordered him to pay a fine of 500 Bahraini dinars ($1,326.15).
Meanwhile, Bahraini regime officials deported a young man to neighboring Saudi Arabia earlier this week over his support for Sheikh Qassim.
Ahmed Ali al-Attiya, born to a Saudi father and a Bahraini mother, was handed over to Saudi authorities.
On May 21, a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Qassim of illegal collection of funds and money laundering and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years.
It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines. The court ruling sparked widespread demonstrations across the kingdom.
Bahraini authorities stripped the cleric of his citizenship on June 20, 2016. They later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by him, in addition to the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.
Sheikh Qassim is reportedly suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric demanded last November that the top Shia cleric be released, and asked for immediate medical attention for him.
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 dynasty 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 bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment a month later.