Bahrain: Sheikh Isa Qassim calls for immediate release of political prisoners
Bahrain’s leading religious scholar Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has called on the tiny Persian Gulf island state’s authorities to immediately release political prisoners because such an issue “cannot be postponed” until the Bahraini parliament is ready.
According to Press TV, in a statement carried by Bahrain Mirror, the religious scholar criticized human rights violations of the Bahraini regime, saying the realization of such rights cannot be "postponed or delayed until the parliament gets prepared and an agreed-upon constitution [is reached].”
He maintained that to mend the political relationship between the Bahraini people and the regime, “there must be a fair electoral law agreed upon by the regime and the opposition, a parliament elected in a free popular election, and an agreed-upon constitution.”
Sheikh Qassim added that restoring Bahrainis’ rights, preparing the electoral law, holding parliamentary elections and agreeing on the constitution must begin quickly and simultaneously.
On April 19, the religious scholar said drawing up a new constitution was the only way out of the political crisis Bahrain, urging the Manama regime to pursue an agreement with the opposition instead of increasingly suppressing the dissidents.
Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.
The participants demand that the Aal-e Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
In a statement on July 1, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society stressed that the right to free expression and freedom of peaceful assembly form the backbone of public demands.
The movement blamed the ruling Aal-e Khalifah regime’s extremism, repressive measures and use of violence against the pro-democracy campaign in the country for the worsening political crisis.
Al-Wefaq said, “The rift between the Manama regime and the Bahraini nation is fairly deep. The regime does not have any connection with people other than through security institutions, which employ excessive force, violence, threats and arbitrary measures.”