SHAFAQNA – Bahraini regime forces have arrested a prominent Shia Muslim cleric as the ruling Al Khalifa monarchy is pressing ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown on opposition forces and political dissidents in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
On Saturday, Bahraini forces detained Sheikh Ahmad al-Jidhafsi at a security checkpoint in the industrial neighborhood of Sitra, which is located about 12 kilometers (seven miles) southeast of the capital, Manama, after delivering a speech at an anti-regime gathering. Then the regime forces released the cleric after a day in jail. Hundreds of protesters condemned the arrest of Sheikh al-Jidhafsi.
His daughter and granddaughter were also arrested. The condition of Sheikh Jidhafsi, who suffers from heart failure, worsened later and officials transported him to a military hospital to receive treatment.
Regime forces reportedly raided the gathering in Sitra, firing birdshots and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd.
On July 14, 2014, Bahraini authorities summoned 66-year-old cleric Sheikh Jidhafsi for interrogation at al-Khamis Police Station in Manama after he participated in a protest calling for the right to self-determination.
Jidhafsi was interrogated about raising the victory sign and attending an anti-regime event. He was released later in the day.
Anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
The ongoing heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful demonstrations has left scores of Bahrainis dead and hundreds of others injured.