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Bahrain

Bahrain to put senior Shia cleric on trial Wednesday: Sources

The Al Khalifah regime in Bahrain has declared Wednesday as the date for the trial of distinguished cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.

According to Bahraini sources, the 79-year-old Shia cleric will stand trial on July 27 on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism”.

Sheikh Qassim has already rejected the charges against him.

Responding to the accusations leveled by the Bahraini criminal court, opposition groups in the Persian Gulf kingdom said the prominent Shia cleric would not attend the trial.

On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship less than a week after the country’s Justice Ministry suspended al-Wefaq and dissolved the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association and Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim.

Bahrain’s so-called administrative court later ordered the dissolution of al-Wefaq and the seizure of its funds.

The United Nations and several human rights bodies have slammed the Bahraini regime for stripping Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship as well as its widespread crackdown on opposition and political activists.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the Al Khalifah family to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protests.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in the crackdown on anti-regime activists.

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