Health Care

Bahraini activist sent to prison for Twitter comments

Bahraini activist sent to prison for Twitter comments”

A Bahraini human rights activist was sentenced to five years in prison on Wednesday for criticising Saudi Arabia's air strikes in Yemen and accusing Bahrain's prison authorities of torture, his lawyer and fellow activists said.

Rajab previously had been sentenced to two years in prison over television interviews he gave that included criticisms of Bahrain, an island off Saudi Arabia that's home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Rajab's son Adam tweeted on Wednesday that, on hearing the verdict, his father laughed in the courtroom and flashed a peace sign.

Rajab, the cofounder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), was arrested in the summer of 2016 and was already serving a 2-year prison sentence.

Amnesty International said it shows "Bahraini authorities' utter contempt for freedom of expression" and "demonstrates the authorities' ruthless determination to crush all forms of dissent".

The case against Nabeel Rajab, a human rights defender and major figure in the tiny island nation's 2011 Arab Spring protests, has been widely criticized internationally.

Yesterday Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the State Department, said officials were "disappointed" by Rajab's convictions and said the USA is continuing "conversations with the government of Bahrain about our very serious concerns".

"It should take punitive action over this verdict and send the American ambassador to visit Rajab in prison to tell him that the USA is on his side and against this reckless repression".

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