TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A Bahraini appeals court upheld a one-year jail term against Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the Persian Gulf country’s Shiite majority who has been under house arrest for months.

The Bahraini regime confirmed a decision taken by a court earlier this year to sentence Sheikh Qassim to one year in prison, the Arabic-language al-Manar TV reported on Monday.

The appeals court also upheld the ruling that strips the top Shiite cleric of his Bahraini nationality, according to the report.

The cleric was stripped of his citizenship in June 2016 over accusations that he had used his position to serve foreign interests and promote sectarianism and violence. The cleric was also handed a suspended one-year prison term and ordered to pay a fine.

The ruling against the prominent Shiite cleric sparked widespread protests and condemnations.

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.