Bahraini rights activist on trial for Yemen tweets

Bahraini rights activist on trial for Yemen tweets
Nabeel Rajab is expected to stand trial for comments made on Twitter, condemning Bahrain's involvement in the war on Yemen, his lawyer said on Sunday.
2 min read
26 June, 2016
Rajab has been arrested on several occasions since the 2011 uprising in Bahrain [AFP]

A prominent Bahraini human rights activist could face up to 13 years in prison for condemning the Gulf Arab kingdom's interference in Yemen, his lawyer confirmed on Sunday.

Nabeel Rajab will stand trial for sending tweets in which he accuses Bahraini security forces of torturing detainees and killing civilians in a Saudi-led war in Yemen.

"He was notified of the referring of his case regarding Jaw prison and the Yemen war to the High Criminal Court for trial," his lawyer, Jalila Sayed wrote.

"The first hearing will be on 12 July 2016. Nabeel may face up to 13 years of imprisonment if convicted in that case," she added.

Authorities have not yet commented on the case but have consistently accused opposition leaders of stirring sectarianism in the country.

Rajab - who has been systematically arrested since the 2011 uprising in Bahrain - was among dozens that were detained by authorities earlier this month in what is understood to be an increasing crackdown on opposition in the kingdom.

In its latest move, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qassim, considered the community's spiritual leader, accusing him of sowing sectarian divisions.

This prompted a strongly worded letter from Washington criticising its Gulf ally, stating it is "deeply troubled" by the kingdom's judgement and suggested it lead with "reform and reconciliation" as opposed to legal action.

Home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been shaken by unrest since security forces crushed 2011 protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Protesters still frequently clash with police in Shia villages outside the capital, with rights groups repeatedly raising concern over the response of the authorities.