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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Bahrain Shura Council denounces interference by UN rights body

Legislative body says UN call for release of convicted activist is irresponsible

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing in Manama. Reuters
Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing in Manama. Reuters

Bahrain's Shura Council has condemned a UN statement calling on local authorities to release a prominent activist.

A committee of the 40-member consultative council, which is appointed by Bahrain's king, said the statement by the UN's human rights office was “irresponsibly interfering in the internal affairs of the kingdom”.

The body said it was “surprised by the statement from officials in the United Nations”. It also called for the creation of a mechanism to deal with foreign entities condemning Bahrain over “false reports”, which Manama says is an attempt to sully its reputation.

In a verdict delivered on New Year’s Eve, Bahrain's Court of Cassation upheld a five-year jail sentence against activist Nabeel Rajab.

The UN on Friday called for the release of Rajab.

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He was first arrested in 2012 over anti-government tweets, according to the Bahrain News Agency. Rajab has since been arrested several times on various charges.

The UN rights body has also called for the release of Ahmed Mansoor, whose 10-year sentence was upheld by the UAE's State Security Court on the same day Rajab lost his appeal.

Mansoor was found guilty of committing cyber crimes, publishing false articles that defamed the UAE and its foreign policy, and spreading sedition, chaos, sectarianism and hate through Facebook and Twitter.

Updated: January 7, 2019 05:18 PM

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