Bahrain has detained a former Shi'ite opposition MP and cleric under charges of financing terrorism and involvement in a bombing that killed two policemen last month. Sheikh Hasan Isa was arrested on 18 August at Bahrain International Airport as he was returning from a visit to Iran, the opposition al-Wefaq National Islamic Society said.
Bahrain's interior ministry said in a statement that a lawmaker was being held "on charges related to financing terrorism among terrorist fugitives and others who are associated in terrorist acts". It did not identify the lawmaker but said his name was linked to the blast that killed two policemen in July.
Al-Wefaq said Sheikh Hasan Isa "is innocent from these accusations and the measures taken against him violate the national and international law". "Sheikh Hasan Isa is a known advocate for peaceful movement. Accusing him of funding suspects of terrorism is absolutely void and raises disgust and amusement at the same time," Al-Wefaq said.
According to the group, Hasan Isa's lawyers were not allowed to see him or sit in on his interrogation. The kingdom of Bahrain accuses Iran of fuelling unrest within the country. Hasan Isa's detention comes as a prominent Sunni opposition leader pleaded not guilty to "promoting political change through forceful means". Ibrahim Sharif said the charges against him were based on "assumptions" and not facts, according to AFP.
Earlier in August, a UK court granted asylum to a Bahraini teenager after he was detained under the fast-track system – later deemed unlawful by the High Court – and threatened with deportation.
Isa Haider Alaali, 19, arrived in Britain on February 2014 and claimed asylum the same day. Instead, he was detained for five-and-a-half months in Harmondsworth detention centre and had his asylum application rejected twice. The Home Office ordered his deportation despite having been sentenced in absentia in Bahrain to five years in jail for illegal gathering and rioting during a 2011 uprising.
The teenager, who claims he was beaten and tortured by police upon his first arrest in February 2014, told IBTimes UK last year that he feared being abused again if he went back to his homeland.