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Bahraini prosecution appeals rights defender's acquittal

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) is deeply concerned about the Bahraini prosecution's appeal of the decision to acquit rights defender Said Yousif Al-Muhafdah of charges laid against him for publishing "false news" on Twitter.

Al-Muhafdah, Vice-President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, received on 2 April 2013 a notification to appear before the Supreme Criminal Court 1 July 2013 to review his case.

Al-Muhafdah was first arrested by security forces while covering a protest in Manama on 17 December 2012. He was charged the next day and detained for seven days while being investigated. His detention was then extended for an additional 15 days. He was released on 17 January 2013 after several hearings, marred with legal violations, took place. On 11 March, the court acquitted him.

The Bahraini authorities are persistently pursuing Al-Muhafdah. He has been arrested several times, most recently at a protest dedicated to rights activist Nabeel Rajab during the international week of solidarity for Rajab.

"The prosecution's decision to appeal Al-Muhafdah's acquittal proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the prosecution has become a tool in the hands of the regime working towards silencing opposition voices and harassing activists by sticking them with malicious charges to intimidate and spread fear," said ANHRI.

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