The Bahraini Court of Appeal has upheld the five-year prison term against the Persian Gulf island country’s prominent opposition figure and pro-democracy campaigner Nabeel Rajab over his tweets deemed critical of the Manama regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.
The court ruling was issued on Tuesday, prompting the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calling it only an attempt to silence Rajab and stop his human rights activities and a retaliatory move against his influence in raising awareness about the human rights violations taking place in under the Al Khalifah regime.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty international condemned the court ruling in a statement, saying, “It is absolutely outrageous that he has to spend another single day behind bars solely for expressing his opinion online.”
The Supreme Criminal Court sentenced the 53-year-old top opposition figure to five years in prison on 21 February. Bahrain’s Court of Cassation, which has the ultimate say in the case of appeals in the country, had also upheld a two-year jail sentence against Rajab on January 15.
He faces a further 15 years in prison over a separate set of charges related to his criticism of the ruling Al Khalifah family and Wahhabism.
On December 22, 2016, Bahraini authorities accused Rajab of making comments that “harm the interests” of the Manama regime and other Persian Gulf kingdoms through an article attributed to him and published by French daily Le Monde.
The article slammed the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group for its crimes against humanity. It also condemned Persian Gulf Arab countries for their failure to stop the spread of the violent Wahhabi ideology.
Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by its clerics, fuels the ideological engine of terror organizations such as Daesh and Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Takfiri terrorists use the ideology to declare people of other faiths “infidels,” justifying the killing of their victims.
International rights groups have repeatedly called for Rajab’s immediate and unconditional release. They accuse Manama of violating freedom of expression and human rights.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
The Al Khalifah regime has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.