Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Bahrain arrests rights activist Nabeel Rajab

Nabeel Rajab had previously served two months in jail before King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered his release by special pardon due to his poor health.
File photo of Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahrain human rights activist, who was arrested on June 13, 2016, according to his wife. Hasan Jamali / AP Photo
File photo of Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahrain human rights activist, who was arrested on June 13, 2016, according to his wife. Hasan Jamali / AP Photo

Bahraini police have detained a prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab, his wife said on Monday, nearly a year after he was freed from prison by royal pardon.

His wife Sumaya said on Twitter that security forces searched the family house before they arrested her husband on Monday. Police also seized electronic devices and other items from Mr Rajab’s home, reports said.

It wasn’t immediately clear why authorities detained Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

Mr Rajab, 51, played a leading role in Shiite-led protests in the 2011 demonstrations demanding reforms in the kingdom.

Bahrain quelled the 2011 protests but has since struggled to resolve political deadlock between the government and the opposition.

Mr Rajab was jailed in May 2012 on charges of organising and participating in illegal protests and released two years later.

In January 2015, he was sentenced to six months in jail over remarks deemed insulting of the kingdom’s security establishment. He appealed against the verdict but an appeals court confirmed the ruling in May 2015.

He served two months in jail before King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered his release by special pardon due to his poor health.

Mr Rajab’s arrest comes a week after another leading opposition activist, Zeinab Al Khawaja, left 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,” Ms Al Khawaja, who left for Denmark where she also holds nationality, said on Twitter.

Ms Al Khawaja was reportedly jailed for three years and one month on charges including insulting a police officer and senior officials.

A court in May more than doubled the jail sentence against opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, who is now set to serve nine years in prison for charges of inciting violence.

* Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

Updated: June 13, 2016 04:00 AM

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