TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, called on the international community to impose pressure on the Manama regime to end its ongoing crackdown on the Shiite clerics in the Persian Gulf country.

The al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, in a statement, condemned the recent arrest of Sheikh Hamza al-Dairi and his one-year jail sentence for supporting prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Shiites in the Arab kingdom who has been under house arrest and is suffering from deteriorating health.

The arrest is in continuation of Al Khalifa regime’s moves to target and desecrate the religious scholars and violate the rights of Shiites in Bahrain, the statement said.

The opposition group further stressed the necessity for a quick move by the international community to help end the crackdown on the Bahraini Shiites and defend the freedom of expression in the country.

The statement came as Bahrain’s Court of Appeals upheld a ruling against Sheikh Dairi over his participation in a sit-in near Sheikh Qassim’s residence in the northwestern village of Diraz in late May last year.

Bahraini troopers arrested the clergyman as soon as he left the court building.

Last year, a court in Bahrain handed down a one-year jail term to Sheikh Dairi, and ordered him to pay a fine of 500 Bahraini dinars ($1,326.15), according to media reports.

Earlier on January 2, Bahraini security forces also arrested senior cleric Sheikh Mahmoud al-A’ali on the charge of supporting Sheikh Isa Qassim.

Bahrain, a close ally of the US in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.

Amnesty International and many other international rights organizations have frequently censured the Bahraini regime for the rampant human rights abuses against opposition groups and anti-regime protesters.