Bahraini authorities say they have interrogated detained opposition leader Nabil Rajab for spreading “false information” in an article published in French daily Le Monde that accused Gulf monarchies of fomenting “extremism”.
Rajab, who already faces 15 years in jail for his criticism of Manama’s main ally Saudi Arabia, was accused of making comments that “harm the interests” of Bahrain and other Gulf countries, the official BNA news agency said Thursday.
It said the case had been transferred to the prosecutor’s office and added that Rajab, a leading opposition activist and the founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, denied writing the article in question.
A piece published by Le Monde on Tuesday attributed to Rajab denounced the ISIL Takfiri group and accused Gulf nations of failing to tackle the rise of its violent ideology.
“Gulf states claim to be allies in the fight against extremism, but they are fuelling the crisis,” the article said.
Rajab was arrested in June for comments on Twitter that criticized Saudi Arabia’s role in military operations in Yemen, according to Human Rights Watch.
The court dealing with the case has repeatedly ordered that Rajab, 51, remain in custody despite recurring health problems for which he was briefly hospitalized in late June.
The next hearing in that trial is scheduled for December 28.