A number of senior Bahraini clerics warned the Manama regime about its decision to try Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s Shiite majority, later this week and said any verdict issued against him will have no legal value.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Bahraini clerics pointed to the planned trial session of Sheikh Qassim on Sunday, May 7, stressing that any court verdict would be “null and void” and lack “legal, national and religious worth”.
The statement also called on the people of Bahrain to oppose any ruling against the top Shiite leader.
The clerics also emphasized that the religious stance on the need for protecting Sheikh Qassim is still in place and the people will defend him to death.
The Manama regime announced on June 20, 2016, that it had revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim. The regime later said it would put the senior cleric on trial on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism”.
In March this year, Manama postponed the trial of Sheikh Qassim as nationwide rallies were held in solidarity with the top cleric.
The trial session of Sheikh Qassim had been slated for March 14 but was adjourned until May 7.
Some sources have said that the Bahraini regime plans to send Sheikh Qassim to exile in Turkey in a bid to ease tensions.
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.
Amnesty International and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime for the rampant human rights abuses against opposition groups and anti-regime protesters.