Bahrain’s high court has upheld a five-year jail term against prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab despite calls from rights groups to release him.
On February 21, a court in Bahrain sentenced the distinguished human rights activist to five years in prison over tweets deemed critical of the Manama regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.
“The Court of Cassation rejected the appeal and upheld the sentence of five years in prison against Nabeel Rajab for his tweets,” Reuters quoted his lawyer Mohamed Al Jishi as saying Monday.
The verdict is final and cannot be appealed.
According to a court document, Rajab was found guilty of “”spreading false news and rumors in time of war”, “insulting foreign countries” and “insulting publicly the interior ministry” in comments posted on Twitter.
International rights groups have condemned the ruling and called for the release of the pro-democracy campaigner, who is already serving a two-year jail sentence over a news interview in which he said Bahrain tortured political detainees.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom in mid-February 2011. They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.