The Associated Press
BEIRUT (AP) — An imprisoned activist in Bahrain has been denied adequate medical care and is being held with extremists, putting his life at risk, a human rights group said Thursday.
Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to two years in prison in July on charges related to TV interviews in which prosecutors allege he disseminated rumors and false news about the situation in Bahrain in a way “that undermines the prestige of the state.”
His imprisonment was seen by rights groups as part of a yearslong crackdown on dissent that has seen all political opposition groups disbanded and activists jailed or forced into exile.
Dimitris Christopoulos, head of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, an umbrella group, expressed concern about Rajab’s health and safety.
“We have received alarming credible reports about the reliability of the medical care afforded to Rajab and we have reasons to believe that his health conditions are not treated in a very good way,” Christopoulos said at a press conference in Beirut.
“Our sources … reveal that Nabeel’s safety is at risk and we fear for his life,” he added.
Rights groups say Rajab was hospitalized last year because of heart problems and ulcers.
Christopoulos said Rajab, a critic of Bahrain’s government as well as extremists, has been made to share a cell with detainees accused of belonging to the Islamic State group.
In London, Fahad A. Al Binali, the first secretary at the Bahrain Embassy, said in response to a query from The Associated Press that Rajab underwent a medical check-up Dec. 31, and was given appropriate medication. He was examined by a physician again two weeks ago and his health condition was pronounced as stable.
“No inmate is placed in a position where she/he is under any risk of harm or intimidation by others,” Al Binali cited a statement from detention authorities.
The embassy said it has received similar inquiries about Rajab’s health since last year and has responded in detail about his condition.
In earlier statements, the government said it was providing Rajab with the health care he required. Examinations determined he was suffering from a urological and colorectal condition, and a surgery was performed. He was later found to suffer from hypothyroidism, for which he was treated and returned to the prison in October last year.
Rajab faces another trial and up to 15 years in prison on separate charges related to tweets he wrote about alleged torture in Bahraini prisons. He also took to social media to criticize the war in Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing of rebels there. Bahrain is a member of the coalition.