Bahrain cuts internet connections, cellular coverage in cleric’s village

July 6, 2016 10:04 am

’s senior Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim

Bahrain has disabled internet
connections and cellular coverage at the native village of a top Shia
cleric whom the Manama regime last month stripped of his citizenship.

Manama
repealed Sheikh Isa Qassim’s citizenship on June 20 amid an
intensifying crackdown on the pro-democracy drive across the Persian
Gulf country. Shortly after taking the measure, the military surrounded
Diraz, his native village, with checkpoints, stopping people from
entering it.
The Eye on Tuesday cited a villager,
named Ali, as saying, “Every night, we face internet disruptions and
disconnections. First the whole signal is disconnected for a few
seconds, then the signal is back but there is not cellular data, no 3G,
no 4G.”
As a result, people are unable to report and post footage
of instances of abuse, which they have been doing since 2011, when
Bahrainis started a countrywide uprising against the regime.
Hashtags
communicating the plight of the villagers have also come under barrages
of anti-Shia tweets, apparently sent from automated sources.

Bahrainis
hold Eid al-Fitr prayers in front of the residence of the country’s top
Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, in the northwestern village of Diraz,
July 6, 2016.On Wednesday, dozens of Bahrainis
amassed in front of the cleric’s house, holding mass prayers on the
occasion of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy Muslim fasting
month of Ramadan.
Bahrain has been cracking down on any political dissent ever since the uprising began in the country.
The
regime’s justice ministry announced on June 14 that all activities of
al-Wefaq, the country’s main opposition political society, had been
suspended.
Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of al-Wefaq, has been in
prison since December 2014 on charges of attempting to overthrow the
regime and collaborating with foreign powers, which he has denied.

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