Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab hospitalized after 2 weeks in solitary confinement

Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab has been taken to hospital with heart problems after spending more than two weeks in solitary confinement, his family said. Rajab is a vocal critic of the Bahraini government and led protests during the Arab Spring.

The activist has been placed in a coronary care unit and is “suffering from unprecedented heart problems after 15 days in solitary,” his family tweeted.

Rajab’s hospitalization was confirmed by his wife Sumaya Rajab, who spoke to RT.

Sayed Alwadaei, of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, told AP that the activist was taken to an unidentified hospital.

Rajab, a well-known human rights activist and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), has repeatedly advocated freedom of expression and debate.

He has organized numerous protests against the Bahraini regime since 2011 and has been jailed on several occasions.

He was arrested in 2012 and spent two years in prison for a tweet in which he criticized the government, and for three protest-related charges. He was sent to prison in 2014 for several months, also for criticizing the authorities on Twitter.

He was jailed for six months in 2015 for a tweet considered insulting to the Gulf kingdom’s Ministries of Interior and Defense. His tweet suggested that Bahraini security institutions could act as an "ideological incubator" for terrorism and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants.

READ MORE: Bahrain re-arrests top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab – family

Later in 2015, the activist was pardoned by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa – although Rajab said he still faced a sentence of up to 10 years for insulting the government.

Speaking to RT about his pardon, he said he will continue tweeting and criticizing the Bahraini authorities. “I’m going to continue my human rights struggle, and my struggle for democracy and human rights in this part of the world,” he said.

On June 13, Rajab and his family tweeted that he had been re-arrested and his house searched.

READ MORE: UN voices concern over Bahrain crackdown on freedom of expression, right to nationality

Bahrain has been repeatedly criticized for suppressing basic freedoms. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW), the kingdom continues to imprison activists arbitrarily and subject them to torture.

Anti-government protests have been taking place in Bahrain since the start of the Arab Spring uprising. The kingdom, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, brutally cracked down on unrest in 2011.

The majority Shiite population of Bahrain complains of discrimination and a lack of democracy, while the Sunni monarchy often accuses its archrival Iran – a Shiite powerhouse – of instigating unrest in the country.