By Daniel Shane
Three-month sentence against Bahraini activist overturned; still appealing three-year conviction
A three-month jail sentence handed down to Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab has been overturned by the Gulf state's Court of Appeal, official media reported.
The original conviction found Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, guilty of sending messages via his personal Twitter account that accused
residents of Muharraq
district of only supporting the island's embattled government due to financial incentives.
According to the state-run Bahrain News Agency, the initial verdict was overturned due to
the "judge’s uncertainty regarding the evidence submitted to support the lawsuit". Najab had already served more than half of the sentence.
Rajab remains in jail while he appeals a separate three-year jail term for allegedly inciting and taking part in anti-government protests during last year's Arab Spring uprising.
Last month, 19 members of the US Congress wrote to the ruler of Bahrain calling for Rajab’s release.
Other rights groups, such as the US-based Human Rights First and Amnesty International have also called for Rajab’s release.
Amnesty International claimed Bahrain had done little to improve its human rights record following its bloody crackdown on Arab Spring protesters 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 at the time.
“He should be released immediately and all other charges or convictions against him dropped or overturned,” it added.
Shi'ite Muslim majority Bahrain has been rocked by near daily protests for the last 18 months. Protesters demand the removal of the Sunni Muslim administered government.