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Bahrain extends detention of tweeting activist

Bahrain authorities extend the detention of prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab on charges of releasing tweets deemed insulting to the government

AFP , Sunday 13 May 2012
Nabeel Rajab
Bahrain prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab (Photo: Reuters)
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Bahrain has extended the detention of rights activist Nabeel Rajab for participating in a January anti-government rally, his lawyer said on Sunday, after he was arrested over tweets deemed insulting to the government.

Rajab was detained earlier this month for releasing tweets deemed insulting to the government, but the public prosecution ordered his detention extended by "one week" on Saturday for participating in the January demonstration, his lawyer Mohamed al-Jishi told AFP.

The official BNA news agency confirmed the order.

He also faces a trial, the second hearing for which is to be held on May 22, for participating in a separate demonstration three months ago in Manama.

BNA, quoting a public prosecution official, said that in the January rally Rajab "made a public speech in which he called for a demonstration against authorities and to use violence against security forces."

His speech "triggered an illegal gathering aimed at undermining security, blocking roads, and attacking policemen," the official was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Rajab is also to face a new trial starting May 16 over his tweets, his lawyer said.

Rajab, who has led protests against the authorities since a Shiite-led uprising erupted in February last year, was arrested at the airport on May 5, as he returned from Lebanon, for "insulting a statutory body via Twitter," Jishi had said earlier.

Rights groups as well the main Shiite opposition formation, Al-Wefaq, have urged authorities to release Rajab, who heads the non-governmental Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).

The activist has insisted on demonstrating inside Manama, unlike the main Shiite opposition which now stages its protests in Shiite villages, after last year's crackdown on protesters who occupied the capital's Pearl Square for a month.

Amnesty International says 60 people have been killed since protests erupted in Bahrain in February 2011.

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