Courts in Bahrain have separately handed down prison sentences between six months and one year to three Shia Muslim clerics as the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown and persecution of the members of the religious community in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
Informed sources, requesting anonymity, told Arabic-language Lualua television network on Wednesday that a Manama court sentenced Sayyed Mohieldin al-Mashaal to one year in prison on charges of “inciting hatred against the regime” and using sectarian rhetoric.”
Bahraini regime forces arrested the Shia cleric on August 14 as he was travelling along the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. The authorities then referred him to the public prosecution.
Also on Thursday, two other Shia clerics, identified as Sheikh Adel al-Shula and Sheikh Hani al-Bazzaz, were sentenced to six months in jail.
They were also ordered to pay a fine of 100 dinars ($265.10) each.
Bahraini regime forces stormed the house of Sheikh Abdulzahra Karbabadi in the northern village of Karbabad early on April 27, and arrested the cleric and his wife.
Regime forces later raided the village of Karrana, and arrested the cleric’s sister.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3.