Bahrain releases rights activist pending trial

Rajab was pardoned last year for health reasons

MANAMA - A Bahraini court on Wednesday ordered the release of prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab pending his trial on charges of spreading false information and posting insults online, a judicial source said.
The decision follows repeated requests to release Rajab, 52, who suffered recurring health problems.
The court postponed his trial to January 23, the source said, adding that Rajab attended the hearing.
The Shiite human rights activist, who had been pardoned for health reasons last year, was re-arrested in June and is on trial on a list of charges, including insulting a state institution and Saudi Arabia in online postings.
He is also accused of "spreading false news and rumours and inciting propaganda during wartime which could undermine the war operations by the Bahraini armed forces and weaken the nation", according to state media.
Bahrain is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen.
Rajab has been repeatedly detained for organising protests and publishing tweets deemed insulting to Bahrain's Sunni authorities.
He previously served two years in jail on charges of taking part in unauthorised protests in the Shiite-majority kingdom.
Home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, Bahrain has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.