SHAFAQNA – A senior leader of the Bahraini al Wefaq party has strongly denounced the Al Khalifah regime authorities for not returning the bodies of slain activists who were killed by Bahraini forces during a recent attack on the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia majority.
Sheikh Hasan al-Dehi, the deputy head of al Wefaq, issued a statement on Monday, denouncing the Manama regime’s refusal to return the bodies as a violation of all existing “religious and human values.”
The families of the activists killed by Bahraini security forces had earlier called on the Al Khalifah regime to return the bodies of their loved ones.
The families of slain activists have criticized the authorities for depriving them of bidding farewell to their loved ones after officials buried the bodies without their permission.
A Bahraini Interior Ministry official said the five were buried on Friday after having contacted the families to attend funeral services, only to change their minds later.
The statement by al Wefaq also termed the killing of activists as “premeditated murder.”
The Bahrain regime forces “murdered and executed” the activists after accusing them of violating the rule of law, the al Wefaq leader stressed.
On May 23, Bahraini forces raided the village of Diraz, which has been under a military siege for almost a year, and stormed the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia majority.
Regime forces killed at least five demonstrators, wounded dozens and arrested over 280 people during the crackdown.
Elsewhere in the statement, Dehi stressed that the Manama regime had failed to curb the popular uprising during the bloody attack on protesters who had convened in al-Fida Square in the native village of Sheikh Qassim.
He concluded by saying that the activists at al-Fida Square had defended their “esteem, dignity and religious values.”
The fresh wave of anti-regime protests broke out on May 21, when a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Qassim of illegal collection of funds and money laundering. The cleric was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $265,266 in fines.
Last year, the cleric was also stripped of his citizenship, which sparked repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.
The Bahraini Interior Ministry earlier warned the protesters against holding more rallies, but the stern warning has failed to end anti-government marches across the kingdom.
The Diraz raid has drawn angry reactions from prominent human rights groups, with Amnesty International calling for an independent investigation into Manama’s use of “excessive force.”
Human Rights Watch has also condemned the brutal violence by the Bahraini regime forces as a crackdown on freedom of expression.
Bahrain has been carrying out a crackdown on opposition figures and political dissent since an uprising began in February 2011 against the ruling Al Khalifah regime.