On 10 December 2017, Sheikh Isa Qasim, 76 years old, went back to house arrest after undergoing an urgent surgery at a hospital in Bahrain. Earlier, on 27 November, doctors visited Sheikh Isa Qasim for the first time since he was stripped of his nationality and placed under house arrest in June 2016, diagnosing him with a groin hernia. According to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, additional surgical operations for Sheikh Qassim are expected to follow.

In a statement on 7 December, four UN experts urged Bahraini authorities to “…allow Mr. Qassim to receive visitors freely, to ensure that medical staff can treat him without pressure of any kind, and to ensure that he can continue to access the medicines he needs after leaving hospital.” UN experts also urged the government of Bahrain to lift the house arrest imposed upon Sheikh Isa Qassim.

The Bahraini government arbitrarily denaturalized Sheikh Isa Qassim in June 2016 and charged him with alleged money laundering related to khums, a Shia religious practice of tithing.

Defenders for Medical Impartiality echo the calls of the UN experts and calls on the Bahraini government to immediately lift the security siege on Sheikh Qassim’s residence and enable him uninterrupted access to medical treatment, including surgical operations.