Sheikh Isa Qas­sim hos­pi­tal­ized in ‘crit­i­cal con­di­tion’

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bahrain’s most se­nior Shia cleric Ay­a­tol­lah Isa Qas­sim has been taken to a pri­vate hos­pi­tal in crit­i­cal con­di­tion af­ter weeks of suf­fer­ing from de­te­ri­o­rat­ing health.

Sheikh Qas­sim’s fam­ily and the Bahrain Cen­ter for Hu­man Rights group con­firmed his hos­pi­tal­iza­tion on Mon­day and said he was in “crit­i­cal con­di­tion.”

He has been un­der house ar­rest for around 500 days amid daily protest gath­er­ings in the north­west­ern vil­lage of Di­raz which is be­sieged by regime forces.

Bahrain’s lead­ing po­lit­i­cal party al-We­faq and rights bod­ies said the cleric, who is in his late 70s, was suf­fer­ing from high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes, and heart dis­ease.

Deputy Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral of al-We­faq Sheikh Hus­sein al-Daihi said the spir­i­tual leader was taken from his home to a pri­vate hos­pi­tal amid tight se­cu­rity mea­sures.

The cleric, known as the spir­i­tual leader of the coun­try’s Shia Mus­lim ma­jor­ity, has been hailed as a source of in­spi­ra­tion for their peace­ful demon­stra­tions against the rul­ing House of Khal­ifa.

The House of Khal­ifa regime has killed scores of peo­ple and im­pris­oned hun­dreds of peo­ple among the pro­test­ers, who are cam­paign­ing for an elected govern­ment and a stop to dis­crim­i­na­tion against the Shias.

Back in June, Sheikh Qas­sim faced po­ten­tial ex­pul­sion from Bahrain af­ter au­thor­i­ties re­voked his cit­i­zen­ship, ac­cus­ing him of “il­le­gal fund col­lec­tions, money laun­der­ing and help­ing ter­ror­ism.” He has strongly re­jected all the al­le­ga­tions.

United Na­tions spokesman Stephane Du­jar­ric de­manded last Thurs­day that Sheikh Qas­sim be re­leased, and asked for im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion for the cleric.

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