Bahrain activist Nabeel Rajab freed after jail time over tweet

Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who played a key role in 2011 anti-government protests, was freed from jail Tuesday, June 9, after serving time over tweets critical of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

"Nabeel has been released and he is on his way home now," his lawyer Mohammed Al-Jishi told Agence France-Presse (AFP), adding that Rajab would serve the remaining 3 years of a five-year sentence in an "alternative" or non-custodial setting.

Rajab, a leading figure in the Shiite-led protests against the Gulf state's Sunni-minority monarchy, had been convicted of insulting the state, spreading false news, and "publicly offending a foreign country," a reference to Saudi Arabia.

The United Nations had led calls for his release, calling his detention "arbitrary" and "discriminatory."

Rajab had spent 4 years in jail after earlier being convicted over media interviews deemed critical of the government.

"We are overjoyed at the news of Nabeel Rajab's release. Nabeel is a dedicated and passionate activist who has always advocated for human rights in Bahrain," Aya Majzoub, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

"He should have not have been imprisoned in the first place, but we are glad that he is finally reunited with his family." – Rappler.com