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Bahrainis Rally for Sheikh Isa Qassim

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Bahrain to express solidarity with prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, whom the Al Khalifah regime has stripped of nationality and summoned to attend a court hearing.

Protesters marched along the streets near the residence of the 79-year-old clergyman in the village of Diraz on Wednesday evening to declare that they will not abandon support for him under any circumstances.

They also vowed to continue street rallies until their demands for the reversal of measures against Sheikh Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s dissolved opposition bloc the al-Wefaq, are met.

The marchers further called for the downfall of the ruling Al Khalifah regime, and chanted slogans against King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

A similar rally was staged in the northern village of Abu Saiba, where demonstrators chanted slogans and stated that Sheikh Qassim is their red line.

Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his nationality on June 20, 2016. They later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by the cleric, in addition to the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Manama has gone to lengths to clamp down on the dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown.

source:presstv

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A Bahraini court has delayed the verdict in the case of top Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, whose nationality was revoked last year. The court had earlier set March 14 as the date to issue its ruling on Sheikh Qassim's case, but it adjourned its decision until May 7, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported on Tuesday. Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of his nationality last June over accusations that he used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The clergyman, who is in his mid-70s, has denied the allegations, refused to be assigned a lawyer and declined to attend any of the trial sessions. Qassim faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted. In addition to Sheikh Qassim, Bahraini authorities are also trying the cleric’s office head and staffer, Sheikh Hussein Mahrous and Mirza al-Dirazi, respectively. The trio are accused of laundering money and raising funds without licenses in connection with the practice of Khums - a religious tax which followers of Islam pay to their highest religious authorities for use in charities and other donations. On Monday, people held mass protests in more than 50 Bahraini villages, among them Qassim's hometown, Diraz. The rallies came after Bahraini clerics released a joint statement and called on all fellow citizens to show their solidarity with the cleric, stressing that the people's unwavering support for him is the “religious duty” of all Muslims. Anti-regime protesters have taken to the streets on an almost daily basis ever since the popular uprising began in Bahrain in February 2011. The demonstrators are demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established. Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded or detained amid Manama’s crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority....

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