Sheikh Qassim’s Fate Still Unknown

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SHAFAQNA – A senior Bahraini opposition figure and political activist said the fate of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the kingdom’s Shiite majority, and many other people recently arrested in Diraz, the hometown of the cleric, is still unknown.

In an interview with the Tasnim News Agency, Rashed al-Rashed, a senior member of Bahrain’s Islamic Action Society, said since the attack on Diraz by the security forces of the Al Khalifa regime last month, there has been no news about Sheikh Qassim’s condition.

He added that after the raid on the supporters of the cleric in Diraz and the arrest of more than 250 people, the fate of the detained and the injured remains unclear.

It is likely that the number of martyrs will be higher than five, because of some reports suggesting that some of the detainees have been severely tortured by the Al Khalifa forces, Rashed said.

On May 23, Bahraini regime forces stormed into the residence of Sheikh Qassim in the village of Diraz, arresting everyone inside the house.

Reports suggest that the Bahraini top cleric is now under house arrest.

At least five people were reportedly killed in the raid, and over 280 others were arrested.

The raid came a few days after a Bahraini court sentenced Sheikh Qassim to one year in prison. Based on the verdict, the cleric’s properties worth three million Bahraini dinars (near $8 million) were also confiscated. Moreover, Sheikh Qassim was sentenced to pay a fine of 100,000 Bahraini dinars (about $265,000).

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with security forces resorting to harsh measures against demonstrators.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful protests.

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