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Cleric faces probe over blast

PROSECUTORS have launched an investigation into claims a religious cleric was behind a bomb blast that killed a policeman and injured another.

They say relatives of Pakistani Imran Ahmed Mohammed, 19, have filed a lawsuit against opposition spiritual leader Shaikh Isa Qassim for instigating atrocities among Bahraini people, threatening security and fuelling sectarian divisions.

Mr Mohammed, who was a Special Security Force Command officer, was on a routine patrol in East Eker when rioters pelted him and his colleagues with Molotov cocktails and homemade explosive devices at around 1am on October 19.

He was severely injured in the blast and was taken to hospital for treatment, but later pronounced dead.

One of his colleagues, a Yemeni man, also suffered burn injuries as a result of the blast.

Mr Mohammed's family claim Shaikh Qassim was responsible for the attack because he called on his congregation to "crush policemen" in January.

Lawyer Osama Al Mulla, who is representing the family, has filed the case at the Public Prosecution, which summoned him to give evidence.

He told the GDN that other lawsuits have been raised against Shaikh Qassim, which were spearheaded by several families of dead and injured policemen.

"I presented evidence consisting of recordings of Isa Qassim calling on people to crush policemen on January 20 and other inciting speeches," said Mr Al Mulla, who is also National Willpower and Change (Erada) board member.

"We have filed other similar complaints against Isa Qassim, but the prosecution has just started looking into this complaint.

"However, he has not been charged yet, and it is not clear yet if he will be summoned for questioning."

Mr Al Mulla said according to the law someone who incites murder or violence will receive the same sentence as the offender.

Seven suspects were arrested on October 20 in connection with the attack.

Mr Mohammed's death was the third tragedy for his family in four months as his elder brother Mohammed Azhar, 26, also a policeman, was killed in an accident near Safra as he drove to work in June.

The teenager's cousin Kashif Ahmed Mandhour, another policeman, was also killed by anti-government protesters after being run over by a car near the former Pearl (GCC) Roundabout.

The blast was the second major attack on security forces in Eker. Seven policemen were seriously injured after a homemade bomb exploded on April 9. noorz@gdn.com.bh



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