UN rights office urges Bahrain to release Nabeel Rajab

The United Nations human rights office has condemned the latest verdict on Nabeel Rajab as “continued suppression of government critics,” urging Bahrain to release the prominent human rights activist.

The Court of Cassation, whose verdicts are final, on December 31 rejected Rajab’s appeal and upheld his prison sentence over tweets deemed critical of the Manama regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.

“Monday’s court decision brings into focus the continued suppression of government critics in Bahrain through arbitrary arrest and detention, travel bans, harassment, threats, revocation of citizenship and other means,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said at a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

On February 21, Bahrain’s criminal court sentenced the distinguished human rights activist to five years in prison for tweeting in 2015 about torture in the Jaw Prison and censuring the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

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.

The pro-democracy campaigner has already served a two-year jail sentence over a news interview in which he said Bahrain tortured political detainees. Rajab completed this sentence in July.

Prominent human rights organizations also denounced the ruling, with Amnesty International describing the verdict as “utterly outrageous.”

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