US expressed its disappointment over sentencing of activist in Bahrain

An anti-government protester holds a picture of Nabeel Rajab, founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, during a sit-in organized by Bahrain's main opposition party Al Wefaq, at the village of Muqsha, west of Manama, September 20, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed (BAHRAIN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX13SKM

Vastavam web: The US has expressed its disappointment over the sentencing of a prominent Bahraini human rights activist who helped lead Bahrain’s Arab Spring protests, urging the Gulf nation to abide by its international obligations and commitments to respect fundamental freedoms. Nabeel Rajab, 52, was yesterday sentenced to two years in prison on charges related to TV interviews he gave in which he allegedly disseminated rumours and false news relating to the situation inside Bahrain.The State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated the US’ call for his release.

“We believe no one anywhere should be prosecuted or imprisoned for exercising their human rights or fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression or peaceful assembly,” she said.The US, she said, believes societies are strengthened, not threatened, by expressions of opinion and dissent, and that opposition voices can play a vital role in helping societies become more tolerant and inclusive.Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the sentencing of Rajab to two years in prison is deeply troubling.

“His health has seriously deteriorated while in Bahraini government custody, and I am concerned that he is not receiving appropriate medical attention and care. I have closely following Rajab’s case, and firmly believe that he should never have been imprisoned or placed on trial in the first place. The criminal charges against him should have been dropped,” he said.