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Prominent Shia clerics say Sheikh Qassim trial invalid and illegal

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Senior Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim

Senior Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim

A group of prominent Shia clerics in Bahrain say the upcoming trial of top Shia scholar Sheikh Isa Qassim is invalid, illegal and unconstitutional.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the group of clerics stressed that Manama is not only trying Sheikh Isa Qassim but all Shias, their practices, laws, and authority.

The Al Khalifah regime has announced that the distinguished cleric is to stand trial on Wednesday on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.” Sheikh Qassim has rejected the charges.

On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship less than a week after the country’s Justice Ministry suspended the country’s main Shia opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and dissolved the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association and Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim.

The United Nations and several human rights bodies have slammed the Bahraini regime for stripping Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship as well as its widespread crackdown on opposition and political activists.

The photo released on social media shows Bahraini clerics protesting in support of top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim in the village of Diraz, west of Manama, July 19, 2016.

The photo released on social media shows Bahraini clerics protesting in support of top Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim in the village of Diraz, west of Manama, July 19, 2016.

On Monday, Bahraini regime forces arrested at least three Shia Muslim clerics over their participation in a sit-in outside the residence of Sheikh Qassim in the northwestern village of Diraz.

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has seen a wave of anti-regime protests since mid-February 2011.

The Al Khalifah regime is engaged in a harsh crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama’s ongoing repression of free speech.

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