Bahraini activist's pre-trial detention 'Illegally' extended

Bahraini activist's pre-trial detention 'Illegally' extended

Laywer of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab said the activist's pre-trial detention has been illegally extended by 15 days on Thursday.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - The director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights has been detained by the public prosecutor for eight months without charge, despite a national legal limit of only six months.

"The public prosecutor is detaining Rajab without any reason," Rajab's lawyer, Mohammad al-Jishi said.

"This is illegal, because according to criminal law procedure 147, they cannot keep him without charge for more than 6 months."

Rajab was due to be freed on bail following a decision by the high criminal court on 28 December.

But he was instead immediately re-arrested and remanded in custody for seven days, on charges related to media interviews he gave in 2015.

Rajab's colleague, Said al-Mahafda, said Rajab's continued detention was part of a "systematic attack" on human rights activists.

"They clearly want to silence anyone with a different opinion to the royal family - it's becoming a police state," he said.

This is the sixth extension of Rajab's arrest and has not been approved by a judge, Jishi said.

Rajab was arrested in June as part of a crackdown on government critics, after he sent out a number of tweets in 2014 that were critical of the Bahraini and Saudi governments.

The 51-year old is currently being questioned over allegations of "spreading false news about the situation in the kingdom" and faces 15 years in prison.

Chief Prosecutor Mohammed Salah told reporters on 29 December that Rajab was being detained until they finished their investigation. His next trial date is 23 January.

The UN human rights agency (OHCHR) has voiced its concerns over Rajab's continued detention.

"We are seriously concerned about the on-going prosecution of Nabeel Rajab ... who has been detained since 13 June 2016 for exercising his right to freedom of expression," said OHCHR in a statement.

Rajab was pardoned last year after he suffered a health scare related to ongoing health problems which have continued to this day.

Rajab's main Twitter image reads: "Human rights are not allowed in Bahrain."


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