Bahraini forces have reportedly detained another Shia cleric following protests in the tiny Persian Gulf Arab country against Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of prominent Shia clergyman Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Sheikh Ahmad al-Jidhafsi was arrested on Sunday after he attended protest rallies against Nimr’s execution.
Bahraini opposition group ‘February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition’ has slammed the cleric’s arrest as heinous, saying Manama is after sparking sectarianism and a religious conflict.
In December 2014, the Bahraini regime also took into custody prominent Shia cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman.
Sheikh Salman, the head of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was arrested shortly after he called for serious political reforms in Bahrain following his re-election as the secretary general of al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition bloc.
The charges brought against him include “incitement to promote the change of the political system by force, threats and other illegal means,” among others. However, the 49-year-old has strongly denied the charges, emphasizing that he has been seeking reforms in the kingdom through peaceful means.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain Interior Ministry said in a Sunday statement that the country’s security forces detained an unspecified number of people protesting Sheikh Nimr’s execution over social media posts.
The regime in Bahrain has warned of criminal prosecution against those protesting the execution of Sheik Nimr.
On Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced that Sheikh Nimr had been put to death along with 46 others who were convicted of being involved in “terrorism.”
Nimr’s execution has drawn strong public and political reactions around the world. The monarchy has, however, rejected criticisms, accusing critics of meddling in its internal affairs.
Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot by Saudi police and arrested in 2012 in Qatif, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.
He was charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had rejected all the charges as baseless
In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced Nimr to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. The sentence was upheld last March by the appeal court of Saudi Arabia.