Bahraini activist granted bail but not released
DUBAI (Reuters) - A leading Bahraini opposition activist accused of insulting authorities remained in jail on Sunday, despite being granted bail, because he faces a second charge of organizing illegal protests, his lawyer said.
Nabeel Rajab is the founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights who led many protests that were part of an on-going uprising led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority against the Sunni ruling Al Khalifa dynasty that rules the Gulf Arab island.
"The judge agreed to the request to free him on 300 Bahraini dinar ($800) bail with a travel ban, but he has not been released because he is being detained on another charge," said Rajab's lawyer Mohammed al-Jishi.
Authorities, who call opposition activists the lackeys of Shi'ite power Iran, have vowed to "get tougher" on security as talks with them have stalled. Activists say the government wants to find any way of keeping Rajab off the streets.
Bail was granted in the case of "insulting an official authority" which centers on four messages posted on the social media site Twitter that suggested the interior ministry had not carried out proper investigations into civilian deaths.
The second charge - organizing illegal demonstrations - could land Rajab with two years in jail, Jishi said last week.
Bahrain has rejected calls for an elected government and large-scale protests - which broke out in February 2011 after successful revolts in Egypt and Tunisia - continue weekly in Shi'ite villages, often resulting in clashes with police.
The desire to contain Shi'ite dissent in Bahrain and counter Iran's sway in the region drove recent efforts to unite the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which stumbled at a meeting of their leaders last week. Continued...