Bahrain releases prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain releases prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab
Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, an Amnesty International's prisoner of conscience, was released from a Bahraini jail following a royal pardon, a step welcomed by rights groups.
2 min read
14 July, 2015
Rajab is one of Bahrain's best known human rights activists

Bahraini prisoner of conscious Nabeel Rajab has been released from jail following a royal pardon.

King Hamad ordered the release of the activist who was serving a six month prison sentence due to "health reasons", Bahraini state media said.

Rajab has been under arrest since 2 April for criticising the treatment of prisoners in Bahrain.

The 51-year-old activist was also facing a six-month prison term in January for posting critical comments about the interior and defence ministries on Twitter.

In May, an appeals court upheld Rajab's sebtence for alleging that members of the military and security services were incubators for the Islamic State group and that extremist, anti-Shia sentiments were rife in the army.

In 2011, Bahrain's monarchy was shaken by mass protests, particularly from the kingdom's Shia majority, which was brutally suppressed by Bahrain and Gulf security forces.

Political activisms and protests have continued and elections for parliament in November 2014 were boycotted by opposition groups.

Amnesty International has accused the Bahraini government of gross human right abuses, including unfair trials, torture and lethal force to disperse demonstrations.

The United States - who have a huge naval base on the island - has called for Rajab's release and other prisoners of conscious.

However, this did not stop Washington from lifting an arms embargo on Bahrain in June. 

This was in response to the killing of 93 protesters by Bahraini security forces, and the detention of thousands others during the 2011 uprising.

On 11 July, political activist Ibrahim Sharif was rearrested after serving more than four years in jail.