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Bahrain Sentences Activist Rajab to 5 Years in Prison For Tweets


FILE - Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing at court in Manama, Feb. 11, 2015.

A court in Bahrain has sentenced prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to five years in jail for tweeting comments critical of the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen and alleging prison abuses.

The charges against him included insulting a neighboring country and national institutions.

Rajab played a leading role in 2011 pro-democracy protests that came as a wave of demonstrations hit countries across the region.

Since then he has been jailed multiple times, and before Wednesday's ruling was already serving a two-year sentence for comments he made during a television interview.

Rajab is the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, which after the sentencing called his trial "a mockery of justice."

Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday the United States is "disappointed" by recent court decisions regarding Rajab.

"We continue to have conversations with the government of Bahrain about our very serious concerns," she said.

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