Nabeel Rajab & Zainab al-Khawaja Sentenced
The prison sentence for Nabeel Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been upheld but reduced by a year during an appeals hearing December 11. Rajab had originally been sentenced to three years in August for inciting anti-government protests, however, one of the charges was dismissed today. Amnesty International released a statement calling any term of incarceration for Rajab “an insult and an injustice,” while the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) released a statement calling for the immediate release of Rajab. ”Nabeel is recognized as one of the most respected human rights defenders in the world. Locking him up for two years only deepens Bahrain’s human rights crisis and makes a solution more remote,” deplored Brian Dooley of Human Rights First.
Additionally, human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja was sentenced to one month in jail for entering the “prohibited area” of Pearl Square, and participating in “unlawful” demonstrations, although her lawyer argued the authorities had never announced an official ban on access to Pearl Square. Al-Khawaja was recently freed from jail after serving a two-month term for destroying a portrait of Bahrain’s King Hamad.