State Dept Calls on Bahrain to Vacate Rajab Case
In the wake of Thursday’s sentencing of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to three years in prison for protesting and inciting “illegal gatherings,” the U.S. State Department called on the Bahraini government to vacate the case. According to Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy, State Department SpokeswomanVictoria Nuland told reporters Thursday that the U.S. would not “get in the middle” of the Rajab case now that the sentence was handed down. However, according to Rogin, Nuland admitted that the U.S. administration wants the monarchy to drop the case after being pressed by reporters. “Well, obviously we think that this should be vacated,” Nuland said.
John Horne of Enduring America highlighted nine reasons why the regime handed down the sentence to Rajab. The first, is that despite recent assertions to the contrary, the regime is not committed to reform. Moreover, the regime believes it can get away with it. “The weak critiques,” Horne wrote, “coupled with gentle praise and arms sales, of the US and Britain has given the regime reason to think it can act without sanction.” In addition, Horne argues, the regime is seeking to intimidate protesters, while “reassuring ‘hardliners’ that they are not being ignored. Rajab has many powerful enemies who have long sought to put him behind bars . . . [he] is serving a three-month sentence for [tweeting], yet for many regime supporters that is not long enough.”