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Sunday
May062012

Bahrain Live Coverage: Prominent Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested

See also Bahrain Video Special: How the Tear-Gassing of A Village Begins
Saturday's Bahrain Live Coverage: The Many 1000s on the Highway


Nabeel Rajab Leads Protest, 1 April1950 GMT: Finally, a press release from the regime that sets out its approach against detained human rights activist Nabeel Rajab....

Prosecutors, using the Bahrain News Agency, said:

[We] filed a case against the defendant after compiling compelling evidence of his involvement in inciting illegal rallies and marches online on social networking websites....The defendant's cyber-incitement proved detrimental as [it] fuelled rioting, road blocking, arsons, acts of sabotage targeting public and private properties, in addition to the use of Molotov cocktail incendiary bombs. The inquiry has also revealed compelling evidence on the defendant's role in instigating, online, acts targeting policemen whilst on duty, leaving some of them injured.

The statement effectively convicted, "[Rajab] admitted posting the defamatory and humiliating material on his account."

Most telling, however, might be this element of truth about this morning's court hearing, "The defendant stood the trial, in the presence of his lawyer, but he refused to answer the questions about the charges leveled against him, saying that he does not recognize the court."

1930 GMT: Wafi Al-Majed reports the treatment of his wife, detained activist Zainab Alkhawaja:

1645 GMT: More vagueness about what exactly human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has done to warrant arrest --- his lawyer Mohamed al-Jishi said, "The representative of the public prosecutor has ordered his detention for seven days for insulting a statutory body via Twitter."

Yesterday, the Bahrain Center for Human Right said Rajab was being summoned over an insult to the "statutory body" on 26 April.

1410 GMT: The Ministry of Interior has put out a belated, vague statement about the detention of Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

The General Director of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security has announced that Nabeel Rajab was arrested on Saturday evening. He was detained under suspicion of committing several punishable crimes.

The General Director said that legal procedures were being finalised to refer him to the Public Prosecutor.

1210 GMT: Mohamed Aljishi, the lawyer for detained human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, says his case has been adjourned in court to 22 May to let attorney check papers.

Aljishi did not say if Rajab, who was seized last night at Bahrain's international airport, will be released pending the hearing.

1010 GMT: After a court hearing, another delay in a decision on detained activist Zainab Alkhawaja, as her husband Wafi Almajed reports:

1005 GMT: Khadija Almousawi posts an update on her husband, detained human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, on Day 88 of his hunger strike:

0850 GMT: Claimed photo of a policeman aiming a shotgun at protesters in Aldair on Saturday:

0805 GMT: Detained human rights activist Zainab Alkhawaja is now in court. Her husband, Wafi Almajed, sends the brief message:

0555 GMT: The news came via Mohammed Al-Maskati of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights late Saturday afternoon after he and Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, had returned to the international airport from Beirut. Rajab, one of the most prominent human rights activists during the challenge to the regime, had been arrested for unknown reasons.

Other bits of information came out through the night. Rajab was taken to Hoora police station. His family were not allowed to see him. He would be held overnight until a court hearing today. The Ministry of Interior had issued a summons for Rajab on the vague charge of "insulting statutory bodies" authority on 26 April, but it is unclear whether today's appearance is related to that allegation or to a new one. 

Coincidentally, leading activist Zainab Alkhawaja --- whose detained father Abdulhadi, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is on Day 88 of his hunger strike --- will also be in court. She has been held since 21 April after she was seized while protesting in the middle of a highway.

Zainab Alkhawaja's imprisonment has become more than the "detainment of inconvenience", in which an activist is regularly held for a day and then released. Rajab has also been subjected to this; whether he now is a longer-term detainee could become an important question not only for his future, but for the course of the conflict in Bahrain.

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