Bahrainis jail activist for 3 years
Prominent Bahraini opposition activist Nabeel Rajab was jailed for three years yesterday for anti-government protests.
Bahrain, a base for America’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shiite Muslim majority erupted last year in the wake of successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
Rajab is the founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and has led many protests against the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty which rules the island kingdom.
A hero to protesters, but villain for Bahrainis who fear the protests will bring Shia Islamists to power, Rajab is already serving three months over a tweet criticising the veteran prime minister. A court said it insulted all Bahrainis.
The judge ruled in three cases yesterday, all related to peaceful protests, and handed down a one-year jail sentence in each, Rajab’s lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said, adding that he plans to appeal. Rights groups criticised the sentence.
“This is a shocking verdict, even by Bahrain’s own abysmal standards on human rights. The regime can’t be seen as serious about human rights reform when it jails one of the world’s most prominent activists to prison for three years,” said Brian Dooley of US-based Human Rights First.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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