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26-27 July 2016

BAHRAIN MEDIA ROUNDUP


political reforms.

Bahrain Shi'ite cleric


goes on trial for money
laundering
The spiritual leader of
Bahrain's Shi'ite Muslim
majority went on trial on
Wednesday on charges of
collecting donations illegally
and money laundering in
a case that has increased
tensions in the Westernallied Gulf Arab state.
Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who
also faces expulsion from
the country after authorities
revoked his citizenship
last month for alleged
foreign links and fomenting
violence, says the charges are
part of a political crackdown
on majority Shi'ites to stop
them from pushing for

Bahrain to try scores


of people on charges
of setting up militant
group
Bahrain prosecutors said
on Tuesday scores of people
will stand trial next month
on charges of setting up
a "terrorist organization",
espionage and armed attacks
on police officers.
The case pertains to
Bahrain's allegation last year
that Iranian Revolutionary
Guards helped fugitives
from the Western-allied
Gulf kingdom join forces
to set up a Shi'ite militant
group called the Zulfiqar
Brigades to destabilize the
state.

A prosecution statement
said Qassim and two others
accused in the same case did
not appear in court despite
having been informed of
the trial. The hearing was
postponed until Aug. 14.
The case revolves around
a Muslim tax known as
Khums which in Shi'ite
Islam is collected by the
most senior cleric whom
individuals follow.
The case arose after
investigators
discovered
more than $10 million in an
account held by Qassim, a
sum which the prosecution
said was intended "to escape
legal monitoring", according
to the statement.

Read more
Bahrain's Sunni Muslim
monarchy survived an
uprising in 2011 mainly by
majority Shi'ite Muslims
demanding
democratic
reform. But the island state
has witnessed a series of
bomb attacks since that the
government says has killed
nearly 20 police officers, as
well as continued, sporadic
Shi'ite unrest.

Bahrain, where the U.S.


Fifth Fleet is based,
has also been waging
a crackdown on large
Shi'ite
opposition
groups
and
rights
activists, a campaign
that
has
drawn
international rebuke.

Read more

Attorney General Haroun


Al Zayani said.

Trial of Sheikh Isa


Qassim
Adjourned
Until August 14 to
Re-Notify Defendants
about Date for Next
Session
Bahrain's High Criminal
Court presided over by
judge Abdullah Al-Ashraf
postponed the trial of
Sheikh Isa Qassim and
two others to August 14 to
re-notify them about the
new date for the next court
session.
"The Criminal Court today
(July 27, 2016) postponed
the trial of three people,
including
a
religious
figure, charged with illegal
fund-raising and money
laundering, to August 14,"

Bahrain tries Shiite


cleric
for
money
laundering
Bahrain's top Shiite cleric
went on trial Wednesday
on charges of illegal
fund raising and money
laundering, judicial sources
said, just weeks after the
Sunni-ruled
kingdom
revoked his citizenship.
Sheikh Isa Qassim is
accused of collecting funds
illegally and has deposited
more than $10 million in
his private bank accounts,
attorney general Haroun alZayani said in a statement
on the official BNA news
agency.

He further stated "None of


the defendants was present
at the public trial today
even though they were all
duly informed about the
hearing. The court delayed
that to adjourn the session
until August 14 to re-notify
the defendants about the
new date for the next court
session."
It is to mention that the
authorities
are
trying
Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim
for
receiving
Khums
(alms), an obligatory ritual
practiced by the Shia.
Authorities accuse him of
receiving money without an
authorization.

Read more

Qassim, considered the


spiritual leader of the
majority Shiite community
in Bahrain, allegedly kept
other amounts in cash to
avoid legal controls, said
the statement, accusing him
of hiding the source of the
money.
Authorities also accused
him
of
purchasing
properties worth more than
one million dinar ($2.65
million) in an attempt to
legitimise the funds.
Two of his aides, Sheikh
Hussein Mahrus and Mirza
al-Obaidli, are also on trial
in the same case.
The three defendants did
not appear in court for the
hearing, held amid tight
security, witnesses said.

Read more

Aluminium
Bahrain
may increase $750 mln
loan for expansion
project - CEO
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba)
has received strong support
from banks for a loan to
part-finance its Line 6
expansion project and may
increase the amount it
borrows from an original
$750 million target, its chief
executive said on Tuesday.
Alba will become the world's
largest single aluminum
smelter complex, boosting
its annual output by 540,000
tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes
per year by adding a sixth
"potline", used in producing
the metal from raw materials
such as bauxite.

The company is raising


around $3 billion to help
to finance the expansion,
through a mixture of loans
from banks and export
credit agencies and an
international
bond
or
sukuk issue. Sources told
Reuters last month Alba had
approached banks to raise a
$750 million loan as the first
part of this.
"We did go out to the market
and we were targeting
anywhere from $500 million
to $750 million," CEO Tim
Murray said on a conference
call to discuss the company's
second-quarter results.
"We had very, very good
demand, so we're finalizing
the terms and the conditions
but we expect this to be
a bit more than the $750
(million)."

Read more

group, causing bombings,


possessing explosives and
undergoing weapons and
explosives training, he said.

138 'Terror' Suspects to


Face Trial in Bahrain
Bahraini authorities have
referred 138 suspects to
court on charges including
forming a "terrorist" group
linked to Iran, prosecutors
said on Tuesday.
The
group
includes
86
suspects
currently
in custody in the Gulf
kingdom and 52 on the run
between Iraq and Iran, chief
prosecutor Hamad Shaheen
said in a statement on the
official BNA news agency.
They are charged with
forming and overseeing
the so-called "Zulfiqar
Brigades",
joining
the

They are also accused


of "spying for a foreign
country".
BNA said members of the
group carried out "several
terrorist attacks in the
kingdom
after
having
received training abroad at
military camps overseen by
(Tehran's)
Revolutionary
Guard" in Iran and Iraq.
Manama has repeatedly
accused Shiite Iran of
fanning persistent unrest
among
the
majority
community since security
forces crushed Shiite-led
protests for a constitutional
monarchy and an elected
prime minister in 2011.

Read more