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Bahrain court hears Twitter 'evidence' against Nabeel Rajab

Rajab has been repeatedly detained by Bahraini authorities [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2017

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A Bahraini court was presented with "evidence" against prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab, accused of spreading "false information" about the kingdom.

A Bahraini court was presented with "evidence" against prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab, accused of spreading "false information" about the kingdom.

The prosecution submitted an "expert report" that they said confirmed Rajab was in charge of his Twitter account where allegedly offensive tweets were posted, the source said.

The defence, for its part, reiterated it case that Rajab was not in control of his account at the time the tweets were posted.

The court had ordered the appointment of an expert from the interior ministry's cyber crimes unit to determine who was operating Rajab's Twitter account.

The hearing was adjourned to February 21.

Amnesty International called the postponement of Nabeel Rajab’s trial for sixth time as blatant harassment

“Bahraini authorities must stop playing games with Nabeel Rajab’s freedom. He has been arrested and released repeatedly over the past five years and has been banned from leaving the country," said Samah Hadid, Deputy Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Regional office in Beirut.

"By postponing his trial for a sixth time today they are cruelly stringing him along as punishment for his peaceful activism. Their refusal to release him from custody in December despite a court order suggests this is part of a deliberate strategy to harass him.

"Instead of flouting his rights to freedom of expression and depriving him of his liberty they should end this campaign of harassment, immediately and unconditionally release him and drop all the charges against him.”

Rajab is accused of "spreading false news and rumours and inciting propaganda during wartime which could undermine the war operations by the Bahraini armed forces and weaken the nation", according to state media.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Rajab, who had been pardoned for health reasons in 2015, was rearrested in June and is on trial on a list of charges, including insulting a state institution and Saudi Arabia in online postings.

A Bahraini court had last month ordered Rajab freed pending the trial on charges of spreading false information. But the prosecution decided to keep Rajab in custody pending questioning in another cyber crime case on a similar charge of "spreading false news about the situation in the kingdom".

Rajab has been repeatedly detained for organising protests and publishing tweets deemed insulting to Bahrain's Sunni authorities.

He previously served two years in jail on charges of taking part in unauthorised protests in the Shia-majority kingdom.

Agencies contributed to this report

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