Bahraini Regime Dissolves Al-Wefaq Shia Association, Seizes Funds
A Bahraini court on Sunday ordered the dissolution of main opposition group Al-Wefaq, and the seizure of its funds.
A judicial source said that the so-called administrative court in Manama ordered the dissolution of al-Wefaq, almost a month after the regime suspended its activities.
The ruling is part of a wide crackdown on political dissent in Bahrain, is certain to prompt more protests in the country, whose embattled regime has faced an uprising since 2011.
Various human rights organizations had condemned the suspension, labeling it is part of a new crackdown on dissent.
Al-Wefaq’s secretary general, Sheikh Ali Salman, has been in prison since December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers, charges he has denied. A court sentenced him to four years in prison in June 2015.
The spiritual leader of the group, Sheikh Issa Qassim, has also been stripped of his Bahraini citizenship over similar accusations. On Saturday, the public prosecutor in Bahrain said the cleric will go on trial early next month on charges of “illegal fund collections and money laundering,” without providing an exact date.
The ruling on Sunday comes despite appeals by the United Nations and United States for the legal process against the bloc to be dropped.
Al-Wefaq was the largest in parliament before its lawmakers resigned in protest at the crushing of 2011 protests calling for an elected government.
On June 28, its defence lawyers withdrew from court proceedings in protest at the government’s push to accelerate the process, which was initially set for October 6.