Bahraini forces have reportedly arrested at least 32 people during separate raids on a number of houses across the kingdom in the past 24 hours as the ruling Al Khalifah regime intensifies its heavy-handed crackdown on political dissidents.
Bahraini troops stormed the besieged northwestern village of Diraz, situated some 12 kilometers west of the capital Manama, detaining 13 people, including minors, Arabic-language Lualua television reported.
Bahraini regime forces had earlier detained more than a dozen political dissidents in the same Bahraini region.
Elsewhere in the northern village of Buri, located about 13 kilometers southwest of Manama, Bahraini forces raided a house and ransacked it. They later arrested brothers Abdullah and Mohammed Saleh Mahdi.
Local sources noted that the incidents took place as regime soldiers did not have a search or arrest warrant with them.
Bahrain postpones trial of top Shia cleric to April 24
Meanwhile, Bahraini authorities have adjourned the trial of prominent Shia and opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman to late next month.
A court in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom decided to put off the trial until April 24.
On November 1, 2017, the 52-year-old secretary general of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad, were charged with “spying on behalf of a foreign country… with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”
Sheikh Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain’s status and reputation.”
The senior Bahraini Shia cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has called “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.
Sheikh Salman denies all the charges, saying he has merely been seeking reforms in the country through peaceful means.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have already censured his arrest and called for his release.
Imprisoned Bahraini activist hospitalized after hunger strike
Meanwhile, high-profile Bahraini activist Hajer Mansoor Hassan, 49, has been hospitalized with hypoglycemia three days after starting a hunger strike to protest the treatment of inmates at the notorious Isa Town Prison.
Hassan, who observed her first hunger strike in October, has been sentenced along with her 18-year-old son for planting a “fake bomb” in A’ali town south of Manama.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.