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Rajab aqcuitted on libel charge

Activist was sentenced to three years for taking part in illegal gatherings

Image Credit: AP
In this Monday, May 28, 2012 photo, Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab leaves a Manama, Bahrain, police station after being released on bail for charges linked to pro-democracy protests in the Gulf kingdom. Rajab has been found guilty of calling and participating in several illegal gatherings and sentenced to three years in jail. The unexpectedly stiff sentence Thursday against Rajab will raise questions about the Western-backed Sunni monarchy's commitment to reform. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
Gulf News

Dubai: A Bahraini court on Thursday overturned a three-month sentence against an activist on a libel charge.

Nabeel Rajab was handed the initial sentence last month for posting remarks deemed offensive to the residents of Muharraq, the country’s second largest city. However, the ruling was appealed and the Court of Appeals decided to acquit the activist.

Nabeel Rajab is under a three-year sentence on charges of taking part in illegal gatherings.

The sentences were criticized by international rights groups, but the public prosecution said that Rajab had called in public speeches for “a demonstration to confront public security personnel, inciting violence and escalation against law enforcement officers, resulting in deaths during those confrontations.” Following his speech, a demonstration raged through Manama, turning into an illegal assembly intending to undermine law and order, block roads and assault public security personnel, the public prosecution said.

“This offence is added to Rajab’s indictment in two other cases for participating in illegal practices, inciting illegal assemblies and organising unlicensed demonstrations through social media websites. That incitement caused many riots, roadblocks, fires, destruction of public and private property, use of Molotov cocktail bombs, and assault against public security personnel, leaving a number of them injured.”