Bahrain human rights leader Rajab released on bail
Published Monday, May 28, 2012
A key Bahraini human rights leader has been released on bail after nearly a month in jail.
Nabeel Rajab, co-founder and head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), had been arrested three weeks ago over comments he posted on Twitter.
Maryam al-Khawaja, who had been acting head of the BCHR while Rajab was detained, confirmed the release on Monday afternoon but had not yet spoken to Rajab.
“He has been released. He was released on bail, which means the charges against him have not been dropped. He still has cases in court,” she said.
Khawaja added that Rajab would probably be banned from leaving the country until the charges against him had been assessed in court.
Rajab was arrested at Manama airport after a worldwide trip that included an interview with the BBC, highlighting the continuing human rights abuses in the country.
Following the interview the country's Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa threatened Rajab on Twitter, saying "you are not going to get away with this every time."
Upon arrival in the country Rajab was charged over comments he made on Twitter, which were alleged to have encouraged illegal pro-democracy gatherings in the autocratic state.
He has refused to respond to the charges put against him, saying he does not recognize the legitimacy of the court.
Bahrain has witnessed mass pro-democracy protests since February 2011, inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere in the region.
Bahraini and Saudi troops violently suppressed the protests in March, but demonstrations continue as Bahraini authorities reinforce its crackdown on dissent.