Prominent Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to five years in prison today after he was convicted of criticising the country’s political system on Twitter, his lawyer and activists said.
Rajab, a leading figure in pro-democracy protests that swept Bahrain in 2011, is already serving a prison sentence for making “false or malicious” statements about authorities in Bahrain.
Rajab was arrested in June last year after tweets from his account suggested that security forces had tortured detainees in a Bahraini prison and on a military campaign in Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition that includes Bahrain. He was charged for producing “false news and statements and malicious rumours that undermine the prestige of the Kingdom.”
He is also under investigation for writing in the French newspaper Le Monde that Western countries should reconsider their support for Gulf Arab monarchies because they were fuelling Islamist extremism. Bahraini authorities said the article contained “false rumours” about Gulf Arab states.