A court in Bahrain has turned down a request to grant freedom to distinguished Shia cleric Sheikh Ali Salman.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected the request to release the 50-year-old clergyman, who is serving a nine-year prison sentence on charges of inciting violence and calling for anti-regime demonstrations.
The court set October 17 as a new date to examine Sheikh Salman’s case.
Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal had previously increased Salman’s jail term to nine years from an original four-year sentence.
Sheikh Salman was arrested in December 2014. He denies the charges brought against him, saying he has been seeking reforms in the country through peaceful means.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has repeatedly called on the Manama regime to release the al-Wefaq leader.
Crackdown in Muharram
Meanwhile, Bahraini regime forces have attacked a group of Shia Muslims hanging banners and black cloths as part of religious processions marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Bahraini soldiers stormed the northern village of Abu Saiba on Sunday, taking down banners and flags as part of the rituals of Ashura, the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram, Bahrain Mirror news website reported.
Clashes broke out between local residents and regime forces shortly afterwards as people took to the streets in condemnation of the move.
Bahraini soldiers fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, leaving several people with breathing complications.
Additionally, regime forces destroyed and removed banners, flags and black cloths hoisted to mark Ashura in the northern villages of Bani Jamra, Qurayya and Tubli.
Authorities also summoned a number of Shia Muslim families who had installed banners and set up flags over their homes in commemoration of Ashura.
The Manama regime has spared no effort in cracking down on the Shia Muslim community in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
Bahraini authorities stripped the country’s most prominent Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim of his citizenship on June 20.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.