Bahrain court denies requests for Rajab's release: Lawyer

AFP , Monday 8 Oct 2012

A Bahraini man holds up a sign calling for the release of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab during the funeral procession for Rajab's elderly mother in Manama, Bahrain, on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 (Photo: AP)

A Bahraini court on Monday denied a request to release Shiite rights activist Nabeel Rajab who is serving a three-year sentence for participating in anti-regime protests, his lawyer said. The request was made by Rajab's defence team, lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi said.

The court "rejected a request to release Nabeel Rajab and suspend" his sentence, Jishi said on his Twitter account. Rajab, 48, went on hunger strike on October 6 after authorities denied his request to attend the three-day condolence gathering for his deceased mother.

The government did release him temporarily to attend his mother's funeral on October 4, where he allegedly "violated" the terms of his release by urging Shiites to continue their anti-government protests.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said that Rajab called on mourners to "continue their struggle for rights and democracy," and argued his speech was a "peaceful expression of opinion." Bahrain's majority Shiites have for decades complained of marginalisation by the ruling Sunni regime.

The courts have merged Rajab's three separate cases of "incitement and illegal assembly" into one single appeal. The next hearing in Rajab's appeal is set for October 16.

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