UN calls on Bahrain to release prominent human rights activist

Press TV- The United Nations has called on Bahraini regime to “immediately and unconditionally” release the country’s prominent human rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab, after Manama grilled the imprisoned activist over criticizing the government and the Wahhabi ideology.

“We are seriously concerned about the ongoing prosecution of Nabeel Rajab,” said Liz Throssell, the spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday, adding that criticizing the government “should not be the grounds for detention or prosecution.”

The 52-year-old activist, who chairs the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was accused by Bahraini officials on Thursday of making comments that “harm the interests” of the Manama regime and other Persian Gulf kingdoms through an article attributed to him and published by Le Monde on Tuesday.

The article slammed the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group for their crimes against humanity and Persian Gulf Arab countries for their failure to stop the spread of the violent Wahhabi ideology.

Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by its clerics, fuels the ideological engine of such terror organizations as Daesh and Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Takfiri terrorists use the ideology to declare people of other faiths “infidels,” justifying the killing of their victims.

Rajab, who was detained on June 13 for tweets that criticized Manama’s role in the deadly Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen, could face up to 15 years in jail. Throssell said in her statement that Rajab was arrested for “exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

On September 5, he was further charged with spreading false information aimed at “impairing the prestige” of the Manama government. The charges were brought by Bahrain’s prosecutor general a day after the New York Times published a scathing article by Rajab.

On November 24, the rights campaigner was taken to hospital from prison due to heart problems after being held in solitary confinement for three months.

On December 15, a Bahraini court postponed Rajab’s trial for the fifth time, announcing that his next hearing would be held on December 28.

In this file photo, Bahraini protesters wave national flags as they participate in an anti-regime protest in the village of Shakhoura. (Photo by AFP)

Rajab has been repeatedly detained for organizing pro-democracy demonstrations and publishing Twitter posts deemed “insulting” to the Bahraini authorities.

“We also urge the government of Bahrain to take all necessary steps to secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with fundamental principles set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 2006,” Throssell further said.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Manama regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.