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8 Mon. May 2017      5:42
Bahraini Regime Postpones Announcing Sheikh Qassim Verdict until May 21

The Al Khalifa regime decided on Sunday to delay declaring a court ruling issued against Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the Shiite majority, until May 21 as massive protests were held across the Persian Gulf country in solidarity with the prominent cleric.

A Bahraini court that had planned to declare the ruling said in a statement on Sunday that the sentence would be announced on May 21.

Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Khojasteh, a member of the presiding board of Bahrain’s Ulema (scholars) Council, said the Manama regime’s move to postpone declaring the verdict indicates that the trial of Sheikh Qassim will continue.

He further emphasized that the trial of Sheikh Qassim is tantamount to the trial of all Bahraini Shiites.

In a statement released on Friday, Bahraini clerics had asked the people across the country to pour into the streets in various cities in support of Sheikh Qassim.

The religious scholars called for public vigilance and preparedness to defend the cleric.

The leading opposition figure Sheikh Ali Salman, who has been in prison since 2014, also declared his support for the Bahraini clerics’ statement and said targeting Sheikh Qassim is tantamount to targeting the country’s Shiites.

In March, a Bahraini court delayed the verdict in the case of Sheikh Qassim. The court had earlier set March 14 as the date to issue its ruling but adjourned its decision until May 7.

The Manama regime announced on June 20, 2016, that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim had been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.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.”

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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Keywords : sheikh qassim - qassim
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