06/13/2016, 09.32
BAHRAIN
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Shiite activist Nabil Rajab arrested again

In the morning the police raided his home, detaining him. All of his electronic equipment and other items seized. Authorities make no comment or explanation on the reasons for detention. In recent days, another well-known activist fled the country in fear of being arrested. The man works for human rights in the country.

Manama (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning Bahraini security forces once again arrested human rights activist Nabil Rajab, who had been arrested in the past and sentenced to prison. The activists family and colleagues broke news of the arrest with a message on Twitter, saying his home was raided in the early hours of the morning. His arrest is part of a wider operation launched by the authorities against internal dissent, five years after the Arab Spring.

There have been no official announcements on Rajab’s arrest - he is president of the Center for Human Rights in Bahrain – however, it comes just a few days after another leading human rights figure, Zainab al-Khawaja, fled to Denmark. According to sources close to him, he left the country in fear of re-arrest.

Police also seized electronic equipment and other items from Rajab’s home according his wife, Sumayia. In contrast, so far there have been no official statements of Bahrain or the police authorities, who maintain a line of absolute secrecy.

Released last July after having benefited from a royal pardon for "health reasons", he had already been arrested and convicted several times in the past. In August of 2012, Nabil Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison for provoking and participating in demonstrations against the government.

Rajab, has guided many a Shiite protests, originally from the village of Bani Jamra, near the capital Manama, against the power of Al Khalifa, calling for greater democracy and civil liberties. On June 6 of the same year the activist was arrested for insulting the Sunni community online.

Bahrain is a Gulf monarchy ruled by a Sunni dynasty in a country where the majority of the population (at least 60-70%) is Shiite and has long been calling for constitutional changes and social and economic rights. In 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring, there were riots that the king of Bahrain - ally of Washington and supported by Riyadh - defeated with armed troops sent by Saudi Arabia.

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