Associated Press reports that a Bahrain court this week rejected request for the early release of jailed human rights activist human Nabeel Rajab, subject of my 28 November posting. His lawyer Jalila al-Sayed says a judge rejected her request Sunday to approve a conditional early release. Bahrain’s state news agency says Rajab was arrested on May 5, 2012 for inciting illegal rallies and marches. Bahraini law provides for early prison release on grounds of good behavior after three-quarters of a sentence served—Nabeel became eligible for release on November 29.
“We continue to encourage Bahrain to take the necessary steps to promote reconciliation among Bahrainis, including permitting all sectors of society to voice their political views in a peaceful manner,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters Monday.
“We have seen reports that the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab … was denied early release today in Bahrain. We understand that he has served 18 months of his two-year prison sentence and is scheduled to be released in May of next year. We remain deeply concerned about the three-year prison sentence for leading illegal gatherings. We urge the Government of Bahrain to protect the universal rights of freedom of expression and assembly, just as we urge all elements of Bahraini society to engage in peaceful expressions of political opinion,” Psaki said.
Rajab is one of several prominent prisoners from crackdowns during an uprising that began in February 2011.
This week, Amnesty International Bahrain tells us that Hussein Jawad, 25, was arrested November 24 for remarks he made during a speech marking Ashura, when Shi’a Muslims commemorate the death of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He is charged with inciting hatred toward the regime.