A KEY suspect in the retrial of 21 men accused of allegedly trying to overthrow the government has been accused of fighting alongside Hizbollah militants and having ties to the Iranian military.
Clergyman Shaikh Mohammed Al Saffaf, also known as Al Meqda, said military prosecutors claim he took part in the Lebanese group's 2006 war against Israel and was due to welcome 40 war ships Iran was reportedly planning to send to Bahrain to support an attempted coup.
He also allegedly supplied medicines from Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) to the militant group.
The revelations came as Mr Al Saffaf and nine other defendants attended the latest hearing in the case at the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court yesterday.
However, the suspect, who was earlier jailed for 96 years in 11 cases related to last year's unrest, said the allegations against him were totally false.
"I am accused of having ties to a terrorist organisation and with a foreign country, I allegedly fought with Hizbollah in the 2006 war against Israel, was supposed to welcome 40 war ships that Iran was going to send to Bahrain and I also transferred medicines from SMC to Lebanon to aid Hizbollah in the same war," said Shaikh Al Saffaf.
"Military prosecutors claimed that because I received calls from Iran and Lebanon this means I am in relations with foreign countries.
"Even the orphanage charity organisation I run, the police accused orphans of setting tyres on fire in the streets and I was funding them to do so.
"All theses charges are unrealistic and ridiculous, there is not a single evidence proving my alleged involvement with any foreign country," Mr Al Saffaf added.
Security was tight ahead of the case as riot police surrounded the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry complex and extra policemen were present inside the courtroom.
Mr Al Saffaf, who spoke for two-and-a-half hours during the hearing, which lasted four- and-a-half hours, also claimed he was mistreated in custody.
He was among 21 suspects convicted by the National Safety Court in connection with alleged attempts to overthrow the government last year with help from a foreign terrorist organisation.
Seven of the defendants, including one sentenced to life behind bars, are still at large, having been sentenced in absentia.
But their appeal was earlier referred to the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court for review by the Cassation Court.
Eight defendants, including Hassan Mushaima, Abduljalil Al Singace and opposition activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, who last month ended a managed hunger strike, were earlier jailed for life for their part in the alleged plot.
Ten others were jailed for 15 years each, while two got five years after being cleared of some of the more serious charges and another was jailed for two years for taking part in illegal gatherings and spreading rumours and lies.
Defendant Al Hur Yousif Al Somaikh, in his 20s, who was convicted of taking part in an illegal gathering at the former GCC (Pearl) roundabout, earlier had his two-year sentence slashed to six months and was released having already spent 12 months behind bars.
The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.