A court in Bahrain has ordered the release of prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, on bail, pending a verdict against him on charges of ‘insulting top institutions’ in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
On Sunday, the criminal court in the capital, Manama, freed 50-year-old Rajab, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, but barred him from travelling. The court also adjourned his trial until January 20.
Rajab’s defense lawyer, Jalila al-Sayed, said her client was charged with insulting the Bahraini army and the Ministry of Interior. She also called for the charges against Rajab to be dropped.
Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, said, “While we welcome that Nabeel Rajab has been released on bail, he should never have been detained in the first place.”
She added, “The Bahraini authorities are merely obfuscating; meanwhile a man’s future hangs in the balance.”
In a tweet shared in early October, Rajab said the Bahrainis that join the Takfiri ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq are actually members of Bahraini security services.
The activist was detained after the tweet was posted and was charged with “publicly insulting official institutions.” He may have to serve jail terms of up to three years.
He was under the regime’s custody in Jaw prison in eastern Bahrain from July 9, 2012, until May this year.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Many Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and arrested in the regime’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.