Health of Sheikh Isa Qassim, Bahrain's most Senior Shiite Cleric Deteriorates whilst in House Arrest

Sheikh Isa Qassim, prominent Shiite cleric who has been effectively under house arrest in Bahrain after having his citizenship revoked is extremely ill.

Reports says independent doctors visited him yesterday the 26th of November at his house in Duraz village, a Bahraini town that’s been surrounded by police for over a year since 20th June 2016 the day nationality of Sheikh Qassim been stripped by royal decree. The 80-year-old Sheikh Qassim is told to be in constant pain and is excreting blood where he requires emergency surgery for a hernia. He also suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. He did not receive any medical care since his residential area in Duraz got sieged by security presence, which means for more than 524 days.

It is worth noting that Sheikh Qassim is sentenced in a Manama court to one year of imprisonment and to pay fine of BD 100,000 ($260,000) on politically motivated charges, still a suspended sentence. Local and international human rights organizations are concerned that he might be at risk of enforced deportation if he ever leaves his residence in Duraz.

Sheikh Qasim is the religious and spiritual leader of the Shiite citizens in Bahrain. He has been a prominent leader in the introduction of democratic reforms in the country since the 1970s. In 1973, he became a member of the first Bahraini parliament with the highest percentage of votes. He also contributed to the drafting of the Bahraini constitution in 1973.
Meanwhile it is important to point out that the Bahraini majority Shiites are being persecuted by policies implemented by their government, as patterns of persecution are conducted at several levels, both affecting their political and religious rights.

We in SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights express our absolute concern over the health condition of Sheikh Isa Qassim and we call on the government of Bahrain to immediately allow him adequate medical care under no police presence whatsoever.

We urge Bahrain to also effectively lift all police manifestation around Sheikh Qassim’s residence in Duraz, as we demand to drop all charges against him and for his nationality to be reinstated.