BAGHDAD, (AP) – Bahrain’s rulers say they’ve revoked the citizenship of a powerful Shiite cleric with close ties to Iraq as part of a widening crackdown on suspected dissidents.
A statement by Bahrain’s interior minister says citizenship was pulled from Ayatollah Hussein al-Najati and his family.
Al-Najati is the Bahrain representative of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s most influential Shiite political cleric.
Al-Najati was born in Bahrain and studied in Iraq and Iran. He now could be considered stateless.
The move Sunday is the latest blow by Bahrain’s Sunni rulers against their majority Shiite population ahead of parliamentary elections next month in the tiny Gulf state. A wave of arrests since August have touched off clashes and protests.