London, 21 May 2017: The High Criminal Court issued its verdict today in the case of Ayatollah Isa Qassim concerning the illegal collection of funds and money laundering.
According to the Attorney General, Qassim and two of his assistants were each given a one year suspended sentence with a three year probation period. In addition, the court fixed a fine of 100,000 Bahraini Dinars and the confiscation of the seized assets related to the case. The Attorney General announced that the seized assets would be distributed as charity for humanitarian purposes.
It should be noted that contrary to some recent reports, the case did not relate to khums, a 20% obligatory tax collected from Shia adherents for redistribution as deemed appropriate by religious authorities. Instead, the charges related to the illicit raising of funds – some of which was subsequently passed to Iranian-based fugitives who had been convicted of terrorist offenses.
Qassim’s citizenship was revoked in June last year after he was found to have intentionally fomented extremism and promoted sectarianism within the Kingdom. Revocation of citizenship occurs only in the most extreme cases, and in this specific case, when the threat against the security of the Kingdom is deemed both present and severe.
Those in attendance at the trial included independent observers and foreign embassy officials. The prosecution evidence and testimony focused solely on the money laundering allegations levelled against the defendants.
As in all cases, those convicted possess the right to appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation.