The United States said Thursday that it remained troubled by a three-year sentence Bahrain handed to a leading rights activist, even though a court acquitted him on another charge.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland welcomed the decision of an appeals court in the US ally to acquit Nabeel Rajab, an activist from the Shiite Muslim majority, over alleged insults issued via Twitter."However, we're deeply troubled that the Bahraini court simultaneously sentenced Mr. Rajab to three years last week in prison on charges of leading illegal gatherings," Nuland told reporters.
"We take this opportunity to urge the government of Bahrain to consider all available options to resolve this case and in general to take more steps to build confidence across Bahraini society and begin a meaningful dialogue with the political opposition, civil society and the government," she said.
Rajab has led protests among Shiite Muslims who accuse the Sunni leaders of discrimination. Unlike the main Shiite opposition, the activist has insisted on protests in Manama even after the government crushed demonstrators in the capital's Pearl Square last year.
The United States has faced criticism by human rights groups for supporting and selling arms to Bahrain – a major US military base which has longstanding tension with neighboring Iran – in contrast to its pressure on other Arab leaders to quit in the face of public protests.
To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=430208#ixzz24TLBTePT
Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished. For information on republishing rights from NOW Lebanon: http://www.nowlebanon.com/Sub.aspx?ID=125478