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Bahrain: UPDATE – Human rights defender Mr Nabeel Rajab acquitted of libel charges but remains in detention
On 23 August 2012, human rights defender 'Mr Nabeel Rajab was acquitted of libel by the Higher Appeal Court in Manama. Nabeel Rajab was arrested on 9 July and taken to prison to serve a three-month sentence for Tweeting about the Bahraini Prime Minister.
The Bahraini Information Affairs Authority has indicated that the acquittal was “due to the judge’s uncertainty regarding the evidence submitted to support the lawsuit.” However, Nabeel Rajab remains in detention after being sentenced to three years imprisonment on charges of illegal assembly by the Bahraini Lower Criminal Court on 16 August. The human rights defender has lodged an appeal and it is scheduled to take place on 9 September. See here for further information on this case http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/taxonomy/term/532.
During the appeal hearing, Nabeel Rajab stated that he had been subjected to ill-treatment and that his phone calls were being monitored.
On 20 August, the first phone call he was permitted to make to his family since being detained was abruptly cut off when he mentioned that he had been placed in solitary confinement. He was subsequently placed in solitary confinement in a smaller, dark cell for one day.
In light of the reports of ill-treatment in detention, Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned for Nabeel Rajab's physical and psychological integrity. While welcoming the decision to acquit human rights defender Nabeel Rajab of libel, Front Line Defenders reiterates its calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately quash his conviction for alleged illegal assembly and effect his immediate and unconditional release, as we believe that he has been targeted solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful human rights work.