[JURIST] Prominent Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab [JURIST news archive] was released on Wednesday after spending three weeks in prison. Rajab was arrested [JURIST report] on June 6 for posting critical comments about Bahrain’s government on his social media page. Prior to this last arrest, Rajab was arrested and released on bail [JURIST reports] weeks later for posting messages on his Twitter account criticizing the country’s 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.
Tension between Bahrain’s government and protesters has escalated recently. Last week, 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 month, 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 in May, 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.