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Bahrain rights activist released on bail

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab was released on bail on Monday, according to his lawyer. Rajab was arrested [JURIST report] for insulting a statutory body through messages he posted on Twitter [website] criticizing the Interior Ministry. Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) [advocacy website], a group that has been critical of the Bahraini regime's response to protests and demonstrations in Bahrain which have been ongoing since February 2011 [JURIST report]. Following Rajab's arrest, the BCHR expressed concern that "[t]he authorities in Bahrain have used many methods in attempting to prevent and/or limit human rights defenders in Bahrain from carrying out their work of documenting and reporting on human rights violations in the country." Rajab was released with travel restrictions [AFP report] after paying a fine.

Tension between Bahrain's government and protesters has escalated recently. On Monday pro-democracy activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] ended his hunger strike [JURIST report] weeks after he and 20 other incarcerated protestors were granted a retrial [JURIST report] by a Bahrain appeals court. Last week, Al-Khawaja's daughter, Zainab Al-Khawaja, was sentenced[JURIST report] to one month in prison for trying to organize an anti-government protest. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for the immediate release [JURIST report] of the leader's of last year's anti-government protests, including Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. In April, HRW issued a report claiming that Bahraini police were abusing detained protesters [JURIST report]. Earlier in April, Amnesty International [advocacy website] declared that Bahrain's government committed human rights violations [JURIST report] against anti-government protesters.

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