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Bahrain releases leading activist Nabeel Rajab after court passes ‘alternative sentence’ – lawyer

Bahrain releases leading activist Nabeel Rajab after court passes ‘alternative sentence’ – lawyer

Bahrain has released prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, his lawyer said on Tuesday, adding that a court had agreed to pass an alternative sentence to the jail term. The outspoken critic of the Bahraini government, who played a prominent role in pro-democracy protests in 2011, is serving a five-year sentence over social media posts criticizing Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen.

Bahrain introduced new legislation in 2018 allowing its courts to convert jail terms into non-custodial sentences. Hundreds of prisoners have been released but Rajab is the only major opposition and activist figure that has been freed so far, Reuters said.

It was not immediately clear what the alternative punishment would be for Rajab. Authorities said non-custodial sentences include community service, electronic monitoring and repairing criminal damage.

In his mid-50s, Rajab has been in jail since 2016 and served another two-year term for torture allegations he made in a news interview. He also reportedly faces a number of other cases.