Press Shia – al-Wefaq, a Bahraini opposition political party, has called for the end of the oppression against Shi’ah leader Ayatollah Isa Qasim and asserted his right to make decisions regarding his own treatment.

Press Shia Agency – In a statement, Bahrain’s al-Wefaq National Islamic Society referred to the necessity of ending the oppression against Ayatollah Isa Qasim, the spiritual leader of the tiny Persian Gulf country’s oppressed Shi’ah majority, and stressed that the decision on the conditions regarding the treatment of His Eminence must be his prerogative and he must enjoy full freedom and the right to treatment.

The statement states that the events and news of the deprivations suffered by Ayatollah Qasim, whose condition has attracted domestic and foreign public concern, reflects the insecure level of human and health conditions in Bahrain as a result of the absence of a legitimate government and a deterioration of the status of life and freedoms to the worst possible degree.

al-Wefaq said that the issue of medical diagnosis of Ayatollah Qasim’s illness has been taken into consideration by experts and added, “The official, vague and contradictory position taken by the government, and in particular the statement quoted by the Ministry of Health (quoted from His Eminence’s family) which been denied by his family, demonstrates the [Al Khalifah regime’s] obvious hostility toward him and the increased fear and concern about Ayatollah Qasim’s health.”

The Bahraini opposition political party emphasized its complete and deep faith in the wisdom and insight of Ayatollah Qasim and the level of the acceptance of his responsibilities to the nation and described the “unprecedented understanding” of the high level of these qualities in terms of religious and national aspects, saying, “Despite all the pain and suffering of this father-like personality and his support becomes more and more colourful and more effective at the level of the homeland every day.”

al-Wefaq also expressed its support for the insistence and commitment of the prominent Bahraini religious scholars who stood behind Ayatollah Qasim and supported him.

Referring to the concerns of the Bahraini people regarding the health of Ayatollah Qasim, the statement said that the actions and oppression of the Bahraini government began with the revoking his citizenship and his trial, and then continued by insulting them, publishing vulgar and dishonourable demands against him, publishing hundreds of articles in the newspapers, television and internet in order to conflate their allegations against him, disregarding his religious position and discrediting him, placing him under compulsory house arrest and besieging his home and their area of residence, where nearly 20,000 citizens live, for the past 18 months. 

Ayatollah Qasim had his citizenship revoked last June over accusations that he had used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The cleric has denied the allegations.

Since then, the head of the dissolved opposition bloc the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, who is in his 70s has been confined to house arrest, resulting in the deterioration of his health condition.

Earlier this week, human rights groups raised the alarm over his worsening health condition.