Monday, June 13, 2016

U.S. ally, Bahrain, rearrests top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

    Monday, June 13, 2016   No comments

DM, UK: Bahraini security forces on Monday rearrested leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab in a dawn raid in the Gulf kingdom, his family said on Twitter.

Rajab, 51, who was detained in 2014 for tweets deemed insulting to the authorities before his release on health grounds, was apprehended at his home in the mainly Shiite village of Bani Jamra near Manama, his family said.

"Rajab was arrested from his house and his house was searched," tweeted his wife Sumaya Rajab.

There was no immediate clarification on the reason for his latest arrest.

Rajab, who has led anti-government marches and heads the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, had previously served two years in jail for taking part in unauthorised protests.

He was sentenced to six months in jail for his tweets but pardoned in July 2015 after King Hamad issued a royal pardon "for health reasons".

Bahrain, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Washington had previously called for Rajab's release, and international rights groups have condemned trials against opponents of the Sunni regime.

His arrest comes a week after another leading opposition activist, Zeinab al-Khawaja, fled Bahrain following her release from jail on "humanitarian grounds".

"It pains me to leave, but I leave carrying our cause on my back, and my love for my country in my chest," Khawaja, who left for Denmark where she also holds nationality, said on Twitter.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights has said Khawaja was jailed for three years and one month on charges including tearing up the monarch's picture and insulting a police officer.

Amnesty International's deputy MENA director James Lynch said Rajab's arrest "appears to be another alarming example of Bahrain's zero-tolerance stance towards peaceful dissent and activism, which it enforces through arbitrary measures including revolving-doors detention".


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