According to a report by Bahraini official news agency BNA on Monday, the activist, who had been serving a six-month jail sentence, was granted “a special pardon for health reasons”.
There have been no further details on the decree issued by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Brian J. Dooley of the Human Rights First welcomed the move but slammed the Bahraini regime for arresting the political activist.
“The release of Rajab is welcome news, but he should never have been jailed in the first place,” Dooley said.
He further noted the freedom of the Bahraini activist does not help the resolution of political crisis in the Persian Gulf state, and called for the release of all political prisoners.
“Shuffling political dissidents in and out of jail isn’t driving Bahrain in the direction in needs to go to achieve the inclusive political settlement it desperately needs. As one is released another is arrested to fill the empty prison bunk. A real solution to Bahrain’s political crisis won’t happen until the leading critics of the government who remain in prison are released,” Dooley added.
On July 7, the European Parliament adopted a resolution, calling on Bahraini authorities to release all jailed political activists in the country.
Rajab was sentenced to six months in prison in January for posting tweets deemed critical of the Al Khalifa regime. In May, a Bahraini court upheld Rajab’s six-month jail.
Known internationally for his peaceful human rights work, Rajab spent two years in prison from mid-2012 to mid-2014.
Rajab’s family says he was arrested on April 2 for posting comments on Twitter denouncing torture in a regime detention center where activists are held.
Rajab, the director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and a co-founder of the [Persian] Gulf Center for Human Rights, has been critical of Manama’s heavy-handed crackdown on the peaceful anti-regime protests that erupted in the kingdom in 2011.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.