TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The Court of Cassation, whose verdicts are final, on Monday rejected Rajab’s appeal and upheld his prison sentence over tweets deemed critical of the Manama regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.
“Nabeel Rajab’s conviction for his refusal to stay silent on the government’s rights abuses is further proof of the Bahrain authorities’ flagrant disregard for human rights,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director of New York-based Human Rights Watch.
“Nabeel Rajab should not have been arrested in the first place, and upholding his sentence is a grave miscarriage of justice,” she added.
On February 21, Bahrain’s criminal court sentenced the distinguished human rights activist to five years in prison for tweeting in 2015 about torture in the Jaw Prison and censuring the Saudi-led war on Yemen.
According to a court document, Rajab was found guilty of “spreading false news and rumors in time of war,” “insulting foreign countries” and “insulting publicly the interior ministry” in comments posted on Twitter.
The pro-democracy campaigner has already served a two-year jail sentence over a news interview in which he said Bahrain tortured political detainees. Rajab completed this sentence in July.
The date of the hearing, scheduled for New Year’s Eve, raised concerns that the Bahraini authorities intended to uphold Rajab’s sentence at a moment when it would attract minimal media scrutiny.
“Bahrain has chosen to mark the new year by entrenching it attacks on human rights defenders and undermining free expression,” Fakih said. “But Bahrain cannot hide its abuses from public critique by jailing dissidents. Bahraini rights defenders are not backing down.”
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom 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.
Manama 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.
Source: Press TV