The Bahraini regime has intensified security measures around prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim’s abode ahead of a new court session to try the popular figure, slated for January 5.
While a sit-in that supporters of Sheikh Qassim have staged in front of his house to protect him against the regime forces has entered its seventh month, the regime forces deployed 25 additional military vehicles to the northwestern village of Diraz, where the senior cleric’s house is located.
The intensified security measures precede the fifth court session against the cleric, due to be held on January 5, 2017.
The regime forces have blockaded the neighborhood in order to disperse the supporters of the cleric, preventing delivery of drinking water, gas and other supplies to the area.
The Manama regime announced on June 20 that the citizenship of Sheikh Qassim has been revoked, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.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 Sheikh Qassim has not appeared in any of the court sessions in the past months.
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.