Hundreds of activists gathered in the streets of Manama, Bahrain, Friday, calling for the release of the prominent Bahraini activist, and opposition leader, Nabeel Rajab. Rajab has been repeatedly threatened, arrested, and beaten for his role as a leading campaigner against rampant civil and human rights abuses in the country. Most recently, Rajab was arrested and imprisoned following protests during a Formula 1 race Bahrain hosted in April 2012. He was charged with “insulting Bahrainis” in a Twitter message and protest-related infractions, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. The verdict has drawn staunch criticism from human rights organizations around the world.
Bahraini activists are also protesting this year’s Formula 1 races, which commence April 19 in Manama, as they consider Bahrain unfit to host such events in wake of the country’s human rights abuses.