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Bahrain female activist sentenced to 3 months in jail

A court of appeals in Bahrain overturned the acquittal [BNA report] of Zainab al-Khawaja, who is accused of insulting a government employee, and sentenced her to three months of imprisonment on Friday, according to the Bahrain State New Agency (BNA). Al-Khawaja is the daughter of prominent Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], and has served previous jail terms [JURIST report] for tearing up a picture of Bahrain's king, destruction of government property and organizing anti-government protests. At the end of last year, al-Khawaja published an op-ed [text] in the New York Times in which she described the human rights situation in Bahrain and some of the hardships her family and friends have faced.

Earlier this week, the Bahrain Higher Criminal Court acquitted two police officers [JURIST report] in the shooting death of a Shiite protester during the nation's pro-democracy protests in Manama that began in February 2011. Last month a Bahrain police officer was sentenced to seven years [JURIST report] in prison for fatally shooting a protester. Bahrain authorities banned all protests [JURIST report] effective October 2012. In January a court in Bahrain released [JURIST report] human rights activist Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda on bail pending trial for charges of spreading false news to harm security. Also in January the highest Bahraini appellate court upheld the convictions [JURIST report] of 13 prominent pro-democracy protestors convicted by military tribunal in 2011 on charges of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. In December Bahrain's High Criminal Court of Appeals commuted death sentences [JURIST report] for two protesters, instead sentencing them to life imprisonment. Earlier in December the prison sentence for outspoken Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab was reduced by one year [JURIST report]. In November Amnesty International released a brief detailing how Bahrain had failed to meet its obligations [JURIST report] and promises to ensure respect for human rights and prevent further torture within the country.

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