The New Arab & agencies Prominent Bahrain Shia cleric Isa Qassim returns home after surgery

Bahrain’s leading Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, a key opposition figure, has returned home after undergoing surgery, his supporters say.

Qassim returned to his home in Diraz on Sunday after being hospitalised due to a hernia.

Sheikh Maytham al-Salman, of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said Qassim may need further surgeries.

Sheikh Qassim, in his late 70s, spearheaded Bahrain’s opposition movement demanding an elected government in the Shia-majority kingdom, ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty.

They have long complained of marginalisation and the country has been rocked by sporadic unrest since 2011, while authorities have ramped out detentions of dissidents.

Qassim was stripped of his citizenship in 2016 on charges that include “serving foreign interests”, an allusion to Shia-ruled Iran. He has been under de facto house arrest ever since.

The cleric’s ailing health has for weeks been a point of contention between authorities and the Qassim family, who had refused the government’s offer to transfer him to hospital over fears he may be detained and deported should he leave his residence.

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