Bahrain rights activist sentenced to three months in jail

[JURIST] Prominent Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab [JURIST report] was sentenced to three months in prison on Monday in connection to comments he posted on his Twitter [website] page in June. Rajab was arrested last month [JURIST report] for posting the comments to his page. He was released on bail [JURIST report] after spending three weeks in prison. The case is one of several against Rajab, including another instance of allegedly illegal postings on Twitter. He was arrested [JURIST report] in May for insulting a statutory body on his page. Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) [advocacy website], a group that has been critical of the Bahraini regime's response to protests and demonstrations in Bahrain which have been ongoing since February 2011. Following his initial arrest, the BCHR expressed concern that "[t]he authorities in Bahrain have used many methods in attempting to prevent and/or limit human rights defenders in Bahrain from carrying out their work of documenting and reporting on human rights violations in the country." Rajab's lawyer indicated that he would likely be given credit [AP report] for the three weeks he had spent in prison after his arrest. He said Rajab planned to appeal the three-month sentence.

Tension between Bahrain's government and protesters has been on the rise since government forces clashed with protesters last year during pro-democracy demonstrations. The Bahrain Information Affairs authority announced last week that they had brought charges against 15 police officers [JURIST report] for alleged "mistreatment of inmates in custody." The government also announced last month that it would pay $2.6 million in restitution [JURIST report] to citizens who lost family members during the violent protests to comply with recommendations of an independent commission who concluded that Bahrain authorities had used excessive force and tortured detainees involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations. Earlier that month a Bahrain court overturned or reduced the sentences [JURIST report] for most of the 20 medical professionals convicted in September of participating in the pro-democracy protests against the ruling regime. The doctors and nurses have maintained that they were only providing medical attention to individuals at a hospital, regardless of their political beliefs.

 

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