Bahrain activist jailed for Tweet against prime minister

Bahrain's government may have avoided the fate of Egypt, Libya, or even Syria, but it can't be feeling all that secure if it's jailing people for tweeting and detaining small children.

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to jail for three months on Monday for posting a tweet that criticized Bahrain's Prime Minister Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah. Rajab, who is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was arrested in June on charges of "insulting in public" after tweeting:

"Khalifa, leave the residents of Al Mahraq, its Sheikhs and its elderly. Everyone knows that you are not popular here, and if there wasn't a need for money, they wouldn't have gone out to receive you. When will you step down?"

The country's chief prosecutor stated in the official media that residents from Al Mahraq, a city on northeastern Bahrain's Muharraq Island, had complained that Rajab's tweet "tarnished their reputation" and "cast doubts" on their patriotism. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Rajab's organization, suggested that these complaints were filed by individuals close to the regime's security forces. 

This wasn't the first time that Rajab has felt the wrath of Bahraini authorities after speaking out against the regime's human rights abuses and subordination tactics throughout the Bahraini uprising. Rajab led several of the anti-government protests that began in 2011, and was detained the same year after publicly criticizing the Bahraini security forces for attacking demonstrators.

Rajab's most recent prison sentence is not even the most extreme example of the growing paranoia of Bahrain's Sunni-controlled regime. In May, authorities arrested an 11-year-old boy, Ali Hasan, for alleged participation in a protest -- the youngest person ever detained for activism.

Hasan told al Jazeera that he had been playing with other children on a street that authorities had blocked off the day before, and had been chased by police officers and detained. The Bahrain Information Affairs Authority stated that to assume Hasan was only playing was "incorrect," and that he was accused of burning tires and participating in an illegal gathering.

Hasan was held in custody for one month before the court allowed him return home. Hasan's charges were not dropped, though, and the court ordered a social worker to monitor the boy for another year.



Jordanian MP pulls gun, raises bar for bad parliamentary behavior

Clausewitz said that war is the extension of politics by other means. But Jordanian lawmaker Mohammed Shawabka seems to have gotten the Prussian military strategist's aphorism backwards. Last Thursday, Shawabka heaved his shoe and then pointed a pistol at Mansour Seif-Eddine Murad, an activist-turned-politician, during a televised debate about the violence in Syria.  

According to The National the two traded insults on Jordanian satellite channel Jo Sat with Murad eventually accusing Shawabka of being an Israeli Mossad agent and a thief. Violence quickly ensued:

"Mr Shawabka first threw his shoe at Mr Murad, who dodged with aplomb, and then pulled a gun. Furniture toppled as the show's host desperately tried to separate the two. And then the credits rolled."

On Monday, the AP reported that Shawabka is being investigated for his role in the altercation. According to the prosecutor, Shawabka could be charged with attempted murder, although he conceded that this might be a stretch because the lawmaker did not appear to take aim at his fellow debater.

The incident ups the ante on what has already been an exciting year for parliamentary antics. In June, former parliamentarian and current spokesman for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party Ilias Kasidiaris grew enraged during a televised debate and threw water on one guest before slapping another in the face repeatedly.

Only weeks before a brawl broke out in the Ukrainian parliament as lawmakers debated a bill that would make Russian and "equal" second language in roughly half of the country. According to the New York Times, the so-called "rumble in Rada" left "at least one opposition politician bloodied and saw another flipped over a banister, his feet flailing in the air."

In Lebanon things heated up in November 2011, when Mustafa Alloush from the pro-Western Future Movement and Fayez Shukr of the Baath Arab Socialist Party began hurling insults-as well as water, pens, and paper-across the table from one another as they discussed the Syrian situation on Lebanese TV.

In recent years, parliamentarians have also come to fisticuffs in Somalia, Iraq, South Korea, Czech Republic, Bolivia, Argentina, Georgia, Taiwan, and Nigeria, To my knowledge, however, Jordan's Mohammed Shawabka is the only one who has introduced firearms into the mix.