Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab (photo by Reuters)
Human Rights Watch says Bahraini human rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab faces up to 12 years in prison in Bahrain over tweets critical of the Saudi war on Yemen.
The US-based international non-governmental organization said on Wednesday that the charges leveled against the 52-year-old president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights constitute a serious violation of his right to freedom of expression.
It added that Rajab’s prison condition amounts to arbitrary punishment, as he was kept in solitary confinement for more than two weeks after his arrest in mid-June and denied compassionate leave to take part in a relative’s funeral.
Saudi Arabia has been waging a  non-UN-sanctioned war on Yemen since March 2015.
“Unlawful Saudi-led airstrikes bombed markets and hospitals, killing hundreds of civilians, but the person facing prison time is the one who criticized them,” said Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Damage is seen in a house struck in a Saudi-led airstrike in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, July 11, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
“If the Bahraini authorities don’t like criticism of the Saudi-led airstrikes, they should focus their efforts on ensuring that their [Persian] Gulf allies don’t bomb schools and hospitals,” Stork pointed out.
More than 9,400 people,including many civilians, have been killed and at least 16,000 others injured since the onset of the aggression.
Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the Al Khalifah rulers to relinquish power.

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