Bahraini activist sentenced to prison; HR groups condemns
Manama: Human rights groups have condemned the three-year jail sentence handed down to a prominent Bahraini activist for instigating and participating in anti-government rallies inspired by Arab Spring uprisings across the region.
According to the Wall Street Journal, human rights groups called the punishment against Nabeel Rajab ‘unusually harsh’. They also said it raises questions about the Western-backed Sunni monarchy’s commitment to reform.
“It seems Bahrain``s rulers are far more comfortable with harsh repression than with the reforms King Hamad keeps promising,” Joe Stork, deputy director of advocacy group Human Rights Watch``s Middle East and North Africa division, said. “The government has yet to show that Nabeel Rajab did any more than exercise his right to free expression and peaceful assembly.
He should be set free, not sent away from his family to prison," Hamad added. The activists said it could also lead to anti-government protesters who have been demonstrating for the past 18 months, calling for greater rights in the country.
Rajab’s lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi, said his client was sentenced to a year in prison for each of three protests he took part in, bringing the total sentence to three years. The monarchy considers most anti-government rallies to be ‘illegal gatherings’ punishable by law.
Bahrain Government spokesman Abdul Aziz Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa too acknowledged that Rajab’s sentence was ‘harsh’.
“The country will not be hijacked into violence by a minority of people,” Al Khalifa said, adding: “His participation in marches in controversial areas in Bahrain has provoked a lot of violence”.
Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was already serving a three-month sentence for posting anti-government comments on Twitter. “What happen today in the court room shows clearly there is no justice or independent judiciary,” Rajab’s wife, Sumayia, said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Afzal Guru row: JNU Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar arrested
- Missing girl from Ghaziabad, Dipti Sarna returns; reunited with family
- DNA: Analysis on actions taken against students protesting at JNU
- DNA: Analysis on actions taken against students protesting at JNU - Part II
- Watch: How students at JNU showcased anti-India spirit! - Part II
- Kumar Vishwas' birthday bash: Ajit Doval, BJP and RSS leaders attend; Arvind Kejriwal missing
- Afzal Guru row: JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar arrested by Delhi Police
- Snapdeal employee Dipti Sarna reaches home, police and family remain tight-lipped over her recovery
- Was abducted, blindfolded for four hours; Snapdeal employee Dipti Sarna narrates her ordeal
- Fitoor movie review: Tabu overpowers, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapur leave a lasting impact!