Bahrain jails eight Shia nationals in continued crackdown on opposition

Published June 29th, 2016 - 02:20 GMT
Bahraini Shia demonstrators protest the arrest and persecution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.  (AFP/Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
Bahraini Shia demonstrators protest the arrest and persecution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim. (AFP/Mohammed Al-Shaikh)

A Bahraini court has sentenced six Shia nationals to life in prison and two others to 15 years in jail, while stripping all of them of their citizenship as the Manama regime intensifies its suppression of dissent.

A judicial source said on Wednesday the eight were all convicted of alleged "spying" for Iran as well as "joining a terrorist group, possessing arms, ammunition and explosives," and training in their use.

The kingdom has revoked the nationality of at least 261 Bahrainis since 2012, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), a non-profit non-governmental organization.

The citizenship of Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, was revoked on June 20, with the Interior Ministry accusing him of seeking the “creation of a sectarian environment” through his connections with foreign powers. 

The move against Sheikh Qassim came less than a week after the Justice Ministry suspended all activities of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the main opposition group in the country.

The kingdom also dissolved two other opposition groups, namely the al-Tawiya and al-Risala Islamic associations.

The developments have raised fears of further unrest in the tiny Persian Gulf country, which has been witnessing regular anti-regime demonstrations since mid-February 2011. The Al Khalifah regime is engaged in a harsh crackdown on dissent..

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the original. 


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