TEHRAN, Jul. 15 (MNA) – On July 9, 2018, Bahrain’s 80-year-old top spiritual leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim arrived in UK and was immediately taken to hospital to receive primary medical treatment by specialized doctors.
Ayatollah Qassim’s health had deteriorated ever since the government have stripped his citizenship and stormed his domicile in 23 May 2017, and placed him under house arrest.
During the raid, the security forces violently dissolved a peaceful sit-in, organized in solidarity with the leader. 5 youth were murdered, around 300 were arrested and many were injured. Further the authorities imposed a strict blockade Duraz; the hometown of Ayatollah Qassim and other prominent dissents. He was hospitalized in November, December and June for severe pelvic and back pains, accompanied with many restrictions.
Ayatollah Qassim’s medical team have confirmed his need to undergo surgery, after performing medical tests. In a statement, they said, “Today, Tuesday, 10 July 2018, a specialized examination was performed for Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim by the consultant physician that is specialized in the disease, which Ayatollah Qassim suffers from. After the initial diagnosis and different medical procedures, the diagnosis coincided with that of the doctors in Bahrain, and the required treatment is available in the hospital where Ayatollah Qassim is staying currently in the British capital, London.”
Clearly, the denaturalization of Ayatollah Qassim and various dissents is a systematic reprisal against the political and religious freedom in Bahrain. Bahrain’s Court of Cassation convicted Ayatollah Qassim of “illegal collection of funds and money laundering, serving foreign interests” and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years. It also ordered him to pay $265,266 in fines. This arbitrary prosecution is related to his religious duty of collecting charities, known for the Shiite community as “Khoums.” Indeed, the government have violated this religious ritual and have confiscated and the charities.
The Shiite community in Bahrain have long endured a pivotal and methodological persecution in an attempt to forge the demographic representation. Since the onset of the 2011 peaceful uprising, scores of Bahraini villages have been subjected to an ongoing clampdown and restrictions. Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, blatantly repress rights to freedom of expression and belief, and practice a prolonged campaign of sectarianism, which insults the 70% of the Shiite majority.
In his speeches, in Duraz’s Imam Sadiq mosque where he used to preach up to June 2016, Ayatollah Qassim has frequently stressed on encountering any attempt to ignite chaos or extremism in Bahrain. This central Friday prayer; the largest Shiite religious congregation, held in Duraz, has been banned too. Armored vehicles were deployed to cordon off the mosque and various police checkpoints were set to thoroughly lock down the village.
Today, the Bahrainis express their concerns that Bahrain might not permit the return of their leader to Bahrain. They stress that they do not trust the government which has deceive them on several occasions, particularly in the coming months that are going to witness a new parliamentary elections. They urge the international community and the effective governments to exert effective efforts on Bahrain to initiate an authentic reconciliation, dialogue and reforms; after releasing thousands of prisoners of conscience and giving assurance to the exiled dissents to return to their homeland.