Manama – Bahrain High Criminal Court adjourned the trial of cleric Isa Qassim and two other defendants accused of money laundering and financing foreign organizations hostile to Bahrain until March 14 and rejected calls for his acquittal.
Qassim used some of the money raised illegally to buy $1 million worth of properties, according to court files. He is also accused of “illegal fund collections, money laundering and helping terrorism.” He strongly denied all accusations.
Qassim, who was also leader of the dissolved association al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship.
The Public Prosecutor demanded capital punishment for Sheikh Qassim, his office staffer Mirza al-Dirazi and al-Wefaq’s Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Hussein al-Daihi.
However, the cleric’s defense lawyer, appointed by Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, asked for the halt of the court procedure and the referral of the case to the Constitutional Court.
Qassim has neither attended court hearings nor delegated a lawyer to defend him.
Bahraini authorities also dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by him, in addition to al-Risala Islamic Association.