» News

Bahrain Embassy in Washington Admits Imposing House Arrest on Sheikh Isa Qassim: No Bearing on His Access to Healthcare

2017-11-29 - 8:40 p

Bahrain Mirror: The New York Times newspaper said that Bahrain Embassy in Washington claimed that Sheikh Isa Qassim's family had rejected an offer of an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

"Sheikh Isa Qassim's house arrest has no bearing on his access to healthcare, neither does his citizenship revocation," the embassy said in an emailed statement.

Simmering political tensions in Bahrain over that order escalated abruptly on Monday with news that the cleric, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, is in the midst of a health crisis.

"For months, the most important cleric among Bahrain's Shiite majority has stayed home, threatened with deportation by the kingdom's ruling Sunni minority under a 2016 order revoking his citizenship," New York Times says.

Human rights activists said Ayatollah Qassim, the spiritual voice of Bahrain's Shiites, required urgent hospitalization for an emergency operation to repair a hernia.

It was unclear, however, if that will happen. His supporters say the deportation order has effectively kept the cleric under house arrest.

Ayatollah Qassim's worsening condition could incite unrest in Bahrain.

The newspaper indicated that Ayatollah Qassim has been an outspoken critic of the government's tactics. He was punished in June 2016 by the Interior Ministry, which accused him of encouraging divisiveness and revoked his citizenship.

Sheikh Isa is one of more than 480 people stripped of Bahraini citizenship since 2012, a punishment that Human Rights Watch has described as a tactic of political repression.

The cleric's village, Diraz, has been under what human rights activists have called a continuous police blockade since the Interior Ministry's order against him. The Bahrain Embassy statement said security measures were meant to increase public safety.

Last May, the cleric was given a one-year suspended sentence on charges of money laundering, which his supporters called a politically motivated, sham prosecution. Anger over how the cleric had been treated exploded in deadly protests outside his home.

Arabic Version



comments powered by Disqus