Manama: A Shiite religious scholar who was beaten up and held captive in Iran for six days has revealed that he had been targeted for his positions and stances.

“I went to Mashhad to visit the mausoleum of Imam Ali Bin Mousa Al Ridha,” Shaikh Mohammad Mulla Ahmad Al Tooblani, a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said, referring to the eighth Imam venerated by Shiites. “I was with other Bahrainis on an organised tour. On the fourth day, and I was walking with another Bahraini religious figure in the outer yard of the mausoleum, I was suddenly verbally abused by four men for my stances, ideas and membership on the Supreme Council for Islamic affairs. When startled people came forth, the four assailants left.”

However, days later as Al Tooblani was walking alone in the street, he was assaulted.

“It was my last day in the city and this time six people, including the four who abused me at the mausoleum, attacked me, beating me up and knocking men down on the ground. The police intervened and I was taken for investigation.”

Al Tooblani in his statement in Manama said that as the men spoke in Persian, he asked to have an Arabic interpreter during the questioning.

“They asked me about the reasons for visiting Iran and about my positions and my relations in Bahrain. They showed pictures of me attending events in Bahrain and asked me about them. They also showed me forged documents, carrying my signature, insulting the Iranian religious leaders. I denied the claims, refuted the charges and proved to them the documents were not genuine. I also explained that my positions and my relations were based on my religious convictions and my ideology.”

Al Tooblani said the police action should be against those who abused and assaulted him instead and that the assailants should be held responsible.

“I spent several days confined to a small cell with an Iranian man. As I did not speak Persian and he spoke no Arabic, we could not communicate. I was feeling the pain of the bruises on my body and the pain was compounded by the fact I am diabetic.”

After spending six days in the cell, Al Toobalni was released.

“When I returned to the hotel room, I discovered that they checked everything carefully which meant they entered during my detention without my permission and of course without informing me.

Al Toobalni returned to Bahrain on Sunday evening. His detention in Iran was widely condemned by several entities and groups in Bahrain.

Bahrain and Iran have no diplomatic relations, but several Bahrainis regularly travel to Iran for religious visits.