Bahrain court postpones rights activist Nabeel Rajab's verdict

Bahrain court postpones rights activist Nabeel Rajab's verdict
2 min read
31 October, 2016
The criminal court that had been expected to issue a ruling at Monday's hearing decided in Rajab's presence to defer the decision until December 15.
Nabeel Rajab had been pardoned for health reasons last year but re-arrested in June [Getty]
A Bahraini court Monday postponed its verdict in the trial of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab charged with spreading false information and posting insults online, a judicial source said.

The criminal court that had been expected to issue a ruling at Monday's hearing decided in Rajab's presence to defer the decision until December 15.

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

The Shia human rights activist, who had been pardoned for health reasons last year, was re-arrested in June and is on trial on a list of charges, including insulting a state institution and Saudi Arabia in online postings.

He is also 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.

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

The court had repeatedly ordered that Rajab, 51, remain in custody throughout the trial, despite recurring health problems for which he was briefly hospitalised in late June.

Amnesty International says that if convicted, the activist could face up to 13 years in prison.

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.

Home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.