Secretary General of Bahrain’s main opposition group, al-Wefaq, described the trial of prominent cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim as a move against the country’s Shiite community.
Sheikh Ali Salman, who has been in jail since December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the ruling Al Khalifah regime and collaboration with foreign powers, which he has strongly denied, said the move has targeted the Shiites in the Arab country.
The “dangerous measures” taken by the Bahraini regime since the revocation of Sheikh Qassim’s nationality have been intensified, he further warned.
Sheikh Qassim is the leader of Bahrain’s Shiite majority.
The Al Khalifa regime announced on June 20 that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.
The regime later said it would put the senior cleric on trial on charges of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.”
But the senior cleric has not appeared in any of the court sessions in the past few weeks.
Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed or injured and hundreds of others, including senior clerics, have been arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful protests.