Bahrain releases leading Shiite rights activist Nabil Rajab
DUBAI BAHRAIN released from jail on Wednesday leading Shiite rights activist Nabil Rajab, his lawyer said, just hours after the government announced $2.6 million compensation for 17 people killed in last year’s bloody crackdown.
Rajab was released three weeks after his arrest for tweeting insults deemed insulting to Sunnis, his lawyer told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the next hearing in his client’s case was set for July 9
Rajab was detained on June 6 after he was accused of “public insults” made on tweets against the predominantly Sunni population of the province of Muharaq, according to prosecutors.
In a statement earlier this month, prosecutors said they received complaints that Rajab “talked on social networks about the people of Muharaq in a way that questioned their patriotism and insulted them.” Last year, a significant part of the Sunni community rallied around the government as Shiites led protests against the regime of the ruling Sunni Al-Khalifa family.
This is the second time Rajab has been arrested and then released in the last two months.
He was first taken into custody on May 5 for posting tweets deemed insulting to security forces. He was released on bail on May 28 and re-arrested on June 6
Rajab is now on trial for four separate charges — two for posting comments on Twitter deemed insulting to the government and the kingdom’s Sunni population and two others for protests.
In a separate announcement late on Tuesday, the government said it had paid out $2.6 million in compensation to the families of 17 people killed in the mid-March 2011 crackdown on pro-democracy protests, a government statement said.