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Bahrain Detains Well-known Rights Activist

5/7/2012 2:42 AM ET

In continued crackdowns to silence dissent, Bahraini authorities have arrested well-known rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who have led several protests against the Sunni monarchy in the Gulf Kingdom, on his return from a trip abroad, Reports quoting the Interior Ministry and activists said on Sunday.

Rajab, who heads the non-governmental Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), was arrested at the airport late on Saturday over charges of "participating in illegal assembly and calling others to join," the BCHR said in a statement.

"Nabeel Rajab arrested by order of public prosecution. All legal procedures are being taken," The Interior Ministry said on its website.

Rajab was returning from Lebanon after meeting the representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, according to an activist who accompanied him. He was whisked away by sleuths in plainclothes.

The BCHR said Rajab, a Shiite, could face further charges, as he was summoned for interrogation on April 26 accused of "insulting the statutory bodies." It quoted Rajab as saying earlier that he refused to attend his trial, accusing Bahrain's judiciary system of not being fair.

According to Amnesty International, at least 60 people have been killed since pro-democracy protests broke out in the oil-rich island nation, home of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, in February, 2011.

by RTT Staff Writer

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