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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for prominent activist 

The sentence marks Nabeel Rajab's fourth sentence over tweets deemed to be anti-government

Bahrain's supreme court, whose verdicts are final upheld a five-year jail term against the Nabeel Rajab for writing tweets deemed offensive to the state. AFP 
Bahrain's supreme court, whose verdicts are final upheld a five-year jail term against the Nabeel Rajab for writing tweets deemed offensive to the state. AFP 

Bahrain's high court upheld a five-year jail sentence against prominent activist Nabeel Rajab on Monday for criticising the war in Yemen and accusing Bahrain’s prison authorities of torture.

Mr Rajab said on his Twitter account that the verdict is now final and could not be appealed.

"The Court of Cassation rejects the appeal and upholds the sentence of imprisoning five years in prison against Nabeel Rajab for his tweets," his lawyer, Mohamed Al Jishi, wrote on Twitter.

The supreme court's verdicts are final and can not be challenged.

Mr Rajab has been in and out of jail since his arrest in 2012 over anti-government tweets and “unauthorised” protests against the monarchy, said Bahrain state news agency.

His sentence of three years in 2012 was reduced to two in an appeal. He was then sentenced to six months in jail in January 2015 over remarks deemed insulting to the kingdom’s security establishment.

Mr Rajab was released after a royal pardon only to be arrested again nearly a year later in June 2016 on charges related to criticising the government, insulting a foreign country and disseminating false rumours in a time of war.

He was released in December 2016 for health reasons over his tweet criticising the war in Yemen. His sentence was reduced to five years from the original 15. On Monday, he lost the appeal to reduce the sentence.

The court convicted him of endangering Bahrain's military operations in Yemen. Manama is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels since March 2015.

Mr Rajab is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. His prosecution has emboldened the country's mostly Shiite demonstrators who protested for greater rights in the Gulf island kingdom that is home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

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Updated: December 31, 2018 05:01 PM

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