Families of slain Bahrainis want Manama to return bodies of loved ones

Families of slain the Bahraini activists want the Manama regime to return the bodies of their loved ones.

The families of the activists killed by Bahraini security forces last week have called on the Al Khalifah regime to return the bodies of their loved ones.

The bereaved families issued a statement on Saturday, slamming the Manama regime’s refusal to return the bodies as violation of religious and human values as well as legal and ethical rights.

The statement stressed that the families of the victims will spare no effort to restore their rights legally.

On May 23, Bahraini forces raided the village of Diraz, which has been under a military siege for almost a year, and stormed into the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain's Shia majority.

Regime forces killed at least five demonstrators, wounded dozens and arrested over 280 people during the crackdown.

This photo shows Bahraini anti-regime protesters in Diraz, the hometown of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, on May 22, 2017.

The fresh wave of anti-regime protests broke out on May 21, when a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Qassim of illegal collection of funds and money laundering. The cleric was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $265,266 in fines.

Last year, the cleric was also stripped of his citizenship, which sparked repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.

On Wednesday, the Bahraini Interior Ministry warned the protesters against holding more rallies, but the stern warning has failed to end anti-government marches across the kingdom.

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The Diraz raid has drawn angry reactions from prominent human rights groups, with Amnesty International calling for an independent investigation into Manama’s use of “excessive force.”

Human Rights Watch has also condemned the brutal violence by the Bahraini regime forces as a crackdown on freedom of expression.

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Bahrain has been carrying out a crackdown on opposition figures and political dissent since an uprising began in February 2011 against the ruling Al Khalifah regime.