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Jailed over tweet

DUBAI — A prominent Bahraini protest leader, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to three months in prison over a tweet against the prime minister which the court said insulted Bahrainis, Rajab’s lawyer and a colleague said.

Rajab, head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, spent three weeks in jail in June under investigation after suggesting in a tweet that residents of the Muharraq district had made a recent show of support for Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman only for financial gain.

A complaint over that and other tweets against the prime minister, who has been in his post since 1971, was made by a group of retired army and security officers who are seen as pro-government.

Rajab has been a key figure in organising protests during 16 months of unrest in the Gulf Arab state as majority Shi’ites lead calls for democratic reforms to limit the powers of the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa family.

Bahrain has increased parliament’s powers of scrutiny over ministers and says it is reforming policing to conform with international rights standards. It accuses protesters of rioting and wounding police.

After the court’s ruling, police took Rajab from his home in the Bani Jamra district west of Manama, said Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda, a colleague from the BCHR. He said he was inside the home at the time.

Jishi said Rajab would lodge an appeal. (Reuters)

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