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Bahrain adjourns trial of three Shia clerics

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Hamali

Bahraini judiciary officials have postponed the trial of three Shia clerics amid the Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed crackdown against prominent figures and followers of the majority religious community in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.

On Thursday, the authorities ordered that Sheikh Ali Hamali, Sheikh Emad al-Sho’lah and Sheikh Munir al-Ma’touq must remain under police custody pending further investigation and court appearance on September 20, Arabic-language Lualua television network reported.

The trio were arrested on August 9, and sentenced to 15 days in custody on charges of participation in anti-regime demonstrations.  

Bahraini authorities have either arrested or summoned tens of Shia clerics over the past few months.

Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Emad al-Sho’llah

Bahraini Shia clerics, in a statement titled “Those Barred from Praying” released on June 16, condemned the Manama regime’s efforts to restrict Shia Muslims’ freedom of religion and belief, describing the situation in the country as “deplorable.”

The statement said that the Al Khalifah regime’s systematic suppression of the country's Shia Muslims had reached its highest level ever, and members of the kingdom’s largest religious community felt insecure and faced threats of arrest and prosecution if they sought to observe their religious rituals, primarily Friday and other congregational prayers.

Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Munir al-Ma’touq

On June 20, Bahraini authorities revoked the citizenship of distinguished Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim less than a week after suspending the country’s main opposition bloc, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, and dissolving the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by Sheikh Qassim, and the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

Anti-regime protesters have staged numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis since February 14, 2011, calling on the Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power.

Troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — themselves repressive Arab regimes — were deployed to the country in March that year to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy rallies.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in Manama's crackdown on the anti-regime activists.

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