Bahrain. The regime continued to push a hard line against government opponents. The Shiite Muslim movement al-Wefaq, the country’s largest opposition group, unexpectedly got its assets frozen in June and then the group was completely banned. al-Wefaq’s leader Ali Salman received his prison sentence from last year extended to nine years.
According to countryaah, the current population of Bahrain is 1,701,586. According to thereligionfaqs, Bahrain’s highest Shiite leader, Isa Qassim, was deprived of his citizenship in June after being accused of being under foreign influence and causing divisions through an extremely religious environment. It sparked protests among supporters and criticism from human rights organizations and the UN, which reported that up to 250 people had been deprived of their citizenship in Bahrain in recent years. Threatening noises were also heard from Iran, which sees itself as a defender of the Shi’ite Muslim majority in Bahrain, where the ruling family is Sunni Muslim. At the beginning of the year, Bahrain had severed diplomatic relations with Iran, following a conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In June, the well-known human rights activist Nabil Rajab, who was convicted several times earlier, was arrested. Rajab was now accused of insulting the state and Saudi Arabia through statements in social media.
Another human rights activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, was jailed in March with his 1-year-old son for serving a one-year sentence. However, she was released after just over two months.