A prominent Bahraini opposition leader rapped the al-Khalifa regime for stripping its own people of citizenship, and said such an illegitimate regime doesn’t deserve to rule the nation anymore.
“The Bahraini revolutionaries want not only an elected government but also annihilation of the dictatorial al-Khalifa regime in the first place,” Ali al-Quraifi told FNA on Wednesday.
Noting that the Bahraini regime is practicing inhumane measures against all walks of life in the country, he said, “Revoking Sheikh Issa Qassim (the senior Islamic cleric) of citizenship was a US-Saudi plot to put out the fire of Bahrain’s revolution.”
Quraifi reminded al-Khalifa’s crackdown on the opposition for years, and said a regime which has given every authority to its mercenaries to commit any crimes against the opposition and appreciates them on different occasions doesn’t deserve to remaining in power.
Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced in a statement on Monday the country’s top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim was stripped of his citizenship.
“Isa Ahmed Qassim has been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship,” Bahrain state news agency cited the ministry’s statement, referring to the country’s most senior Muslim cleric in Bahrain.
The latest move by the Bahrain regime against the country’s main opposition figures came as the Al-Khalifah regime is exerting mounting pressure on the opposition.
Opposition members feel the government is willing to accelerate its crackdown on dissent because it believes it will only face minimal censure through statements of concern in the US and Europe. Both the US and UK have large naval bases in Bahrain.
Last week, the government suspended the main Shia opposition party, al-Wefaq, accusing it of having links to foreign terrorists and inciting hatred. Sheikh Ali Salman, al-Wefaq’s secretary-general, was arrested in 2014 on charges of inciting violence. His sentence was doubled to nine years on appeal last month.
The cabinet decided to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Isa — an indigenous Bahraini who applied for nationality to get a passport in the 1960s — after a presentation by the interior ministry. The lack of judicial oversight raised concerns among rights groups.
Stripping the nationality of dissidents has become a popular tool for Persian Gulf Arab littoral states battling domestic dissent, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, where nationality is perceived by many as a privilege not a right.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says more than 250 Bahrainis have been stripped of their nationality for alleged disloyalty.
The move by the Manama regime has also caused anger in Iran and across the world.