By Claire Valdini
Amnesty International called for release of Nabeel Rajab, who was jailed for 3 months this week
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of the Bahraini protest leader, Nabeel Rajab, who was imprisoned for three months this week.
The lobbyist group said Bahrain had done little to improve its human rights record following its bloody crackdown on Arab Spring protestors last year.
“Nabeel Rajab’s imprisonment is the latest example of how, despite government promises to introduce reforms following its violent crackdown on protesters in 2011, few improvements have been seen on the ground,” the group said in a statement.
“He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned,” it added.
Rajab, a key figure in drawing attention to human rights violations in the Gulf state during the Arab Spring protests, was sentenced to three months in prison on Monday over a tweet against the prime minister, which a court said insulted Bahrainis.
Rajab spent three weeks in jail in June under investigation after suggesting in a tweet that people in the Muharraq district had only made a recent show of support for Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman for financial gain.
The judge said the time Rajab has already spent in jail would count towards the sentence.
Bahrain has been rocked by unrest for more than a year by mainly Shi'ite protesters demanding greater say in the political process and an end to what they see as discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.
A state-sponsored Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November said that 35 people died during the unrest which began in February 2011 on the back of revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. The country has since committed to improving its human rights record by implementing recommendations of the report into claims of abuse and torture, but human rights organisations say not enough is being done.
“Bahrain has taken some positive steps, but the Bahraini authorities can hardly claim that the BICI’s recommendations have been implemented as long as hundreds of people remain behind bars solely for speaking out and demanding a change of government,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said in March.
http://is.gd/m5zFUY Please sign this petition advocating for the release of Nabeel Rajab and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.