Bahrain human rights activist Nabeel Rajab jailed for five years

Andrew Cummings
February 23, 2018

The new convictions were for "insulting a neighbouring country" and "insulting national institutions" in comments posted on Twitter, activists said.

Al Jazeera reported that one of the tweets was posted on March 26, 2015, the day Saudi Arabia entered into the Yemen conflict.

Saudi Arabia has accused its regional rival, Iran, of encouraging its Shia-majority population to rise against Bahrain's minority Sunni rulers, allegations that Iran has denied.

The prominent activist is already serving a separate two-year sentence for spreading "false or malicious" information.


Rajab has spent some of his incarceration in the hospital due to heart problems and ulcers.

Rajab's son Adam tweeted on Wednesday that, on hearing the verdict, his father laughed in the courtroom and flashed a peace sign. Its constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

He and his organisation called on the Bahraini government to "immediately release" Rajab and other human rights activists in detention.

"It's time the Trump administration showed some spine in standing up to the dictatorship in Bahrain", said Brian Dooley, a senior adviser at the US -based group Human Rights First.


The human rights watchdog noted that Rajab's trial had been postponed 20 times, and that the government violated court procedures by failing to give his lawyers enough opportunity to defend their client.

"It's time the Trump administration showed some spine in standing up to the dictatorship in Bahrain", said Brian Dooley, a senior adviser at the US-based group Human Rights First. He was previously jailed from 2012 to 2014 for "allegedly fomenting clashes between police and protesters", the Associated Press reported. It also sold the country 16 fighter jets with no human rights conditions attached. They joined pro-democracy activists in demanding more political freedoms in 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept the wider Middle East. Saudi and Emirati troops ultimately helped violently put down the demonstrations.

A USA embassy representative attended an earlier hearing for Rajab, the state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday, adding that Washington was disappointed his earlier verdict had been upheld.

FIDH, OMCT and the Gulf Center for Human Rights said the activist had been advised not to take his medication back in January over fears the government had interfered with the treatment.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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