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Bahraini activist stays in jail despite release order

28 December 2016 23:00

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Prominent Bahraini human rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab will remain in jail despite a ruling ordering his release on bail pending a trial next month.

Bahrain’s prosecution office said on Wednesday that the human rights activist will remain in prison because he still faces other charges in a different case.

“He will remain in jail pending the case being handled by the public prosecution, until the investigation is concluded,” prosecution chief Mohammed Salah said in a statement carried by state news agency BNA.

Hours earlier, Jalila Sayed, the defense lawyer representing Rajab, said the activist had been freed earlier in the day after a long court hearing, adding that he would appear again in court on January 23.

Wednesday’s court decision followed requests to release the 52-year-old rights campaigner over health problems.

“Nabeel is overall weak because of… heart problems and other physical issues,” Sayed said, adding, “He’s under tremendous stress because of this length of detention.”

Rajab had been repeatedly detained for organizing anti-regime protests in the Persian Gulf country and publishing online comments deemed insulting to the ruling dynasty.

He was pardoned for health reasons last year but was rearrested in June over tweets he posted in March 2015 criticizing the Manama regime for torturing prisoners at a local jail and for its involvement in the deadly Saudi aggression against Yemen.

According to state media, Rajab is accused of “spreading false news and rumors and inciting propaganda during wartime.” He catigorically denies the charges.

Anti-regime protesters clash with Bahraini police firing tear gas in the western village of Shahrakan on April 5, 2016. (Photo by AP)

Last week, the United Nations called on Bahrain to “immediately and unconditionally” release Rajab.

Human Rights Watchdog has also criticized the charges brought against the activist, saying they “inherently violate the right to free expression.”

Bahrain, a close ally of the US, has been rocked by a wave of anti-regime demonstrations since mid-February 2011.

Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of others injured or detained amid Manama’s ongoing crackdown on dissent and widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.

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