DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A United Nations panel says Bahrain should immediately release imprisoned activist Nabeel Rajab.
The statement on Thursday by the U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention describes Rajab as the victim of government-sponsored "persecution" for his political views in the island kingdom.
Rajab is serving a five-year prison sentence for tweets he sent in a case widely criticized internationally as the kingdom's government continues a crackdown on dissent. He faces further time in prison on other charges similarly denounced abroad.
Authorities in Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a British naval base, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday on the panel's opinion.
The kingdom similarly did not respond to the U.N. panel's questions regarding Rajab's case.