Prominent Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who has been stripped of his nationality by the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty, has been rushed to hospital over deteriorating health as the Manama regime does not shy away from its suppressive measures against pro-democracy campaigners in the country.
Arabic-language Lualua television network reported that the 81-year-old cleric was hospitalized on Wednesday, without providing any further information.
Sheikh Qassim was taken to a private hospital in critical condition late last year, and went under a surgery in February.
On May 21 last year, 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.
The Bahraini regime’s harsh treatment of the Shia cleric comes despite the fact that 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.
Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.