Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab receives royal pardon | News | DW | 14.07.2015
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Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab receives royal pardon

King Hamad of Bahrain has pardoned Nabeel Rajab, a leading human rights activist serving a six-month jail sentence. Rajab was imprisoned for allegedly posting offensive comments about the country's ministries.

Nabeel Rajab has received "a special pardon for health reasons" from Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa after being imprisoned for six months on charges of insulting public institutions on Twitter, the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported Monday.

The 51-year-old Rajab is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and a member of the country's Shiite group.

He was sentenced in January for posting comments on the social networking site about Bahrain's interior and defense ministries alleging that many officers serving in his country's security forces had developed Sunni extremist views and joined jihadists with the "Islamic State" (IS) group. He also charged that the Sunni-ruled monarchy was treating its political Shiite prisoners badly.

Bahrain has been facing unrest over the past four years as its Shiite majority calls for more rights from its Sunni royal leaders. Bahrain silenced the protests in 2011, but anti-government demonstrations still occur. Rajab himself led protests against the government and was sentenced to jail for two years before being released in 2014.

International rights organizations have condemned the trial of political prisoners in Bahrain and demanded their release.

mg/cmk (AFP, AP)