Ottawa man faces prison in Bahrain

Ottawa resident Naser Al Raas lost his appeal Monday and is facing a five-year term in Bahrain prison over the right to freedom of expression.

“The court has upheld the sentence,” his fiancee, Zainab Ahmed, told the Sun from Bahrain Wednesday.

“I’m very sad.”

Al Raas could be arrested at any time.

“He’s in hiding right now. He’s supposed to be in jail,” she said.

The 29-year-old went to a pro-democracy rally in Bahrain last March.

Shortly after, Al Raas says he was abducted from the airport then allegedly tortured underground for a month.

Three months ago, Al Raas was convicted in civilian court for “gathering” and “spreading false news.”

“I feel terrified,” Al Raas told the Sun in November.

“It means my death. I can’t take all that torture again.”

On Monday, 12 out of 13 defendants were acquitted and Al Raas is the only one facing jail time.

“We’re disappointed that he wasn’t acquitted along with everyone else,” said John Babcock, spokesman for Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy.

“We’re going to continue working through our diplomatic channels.”

Ahmed is worried about his heart and lung problems.

“I can’t let Naser go back to jail again,” she said.

“His health can’t take that again. They have to drop all the charges. It’s not fair.”

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/01/25/ottawa-man-faces-prison-in-bahrain

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