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Bahrain's top Shiite cleric back in hospital: activist

1 min

Dubai (AFP)

Bahrain's Shiite spiritual leader Sheikh Isa Qassim was returned to hospital on Wednesday to undergo a new round of surgery, a rights activist said.

"Sheikh Isa Qassim was admitted today to the Bahrain International Hospital to receive surgery for a hernia," Sheikh Maytham al-Salman from Bahrain Center for Human Rights told AFP.

He said authorities had delayed for two weeks before allowing the cleric to visit the hospital.

Qassim, in his late 70s, is suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Rights activists say he underwent a previous round of surgery in early December.

The cleric was a leader of Arab Spring-inspired 2011 protests in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, and has been under de facto house arrest since a 2016 court order revoking his citizenship.

He was sentenced to a suspended one-year jail term on the charge of "serving foreign interests".

Located between regional arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is home to a Shiite majority that has long complained of political marginalisation.

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