Middle East

Bahrain activist Zainab al-Khawaja 'given new jail term'

A Bahraini anti-government protester carries a picture of jailed opposition activist Zainab al-Khawaja
Image caption Ms Khawaja is one the Gulf kingdom's most prominent campaigners

A court in Bahrain has sentenced pro-democracy activist Zainab al-Khawaja to two months in jail for insulting police, opposition sources say.

The decision would mean she stays in jail until February 2014, as she is already serving previous sentences.

Her father Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is also in jail.

Ms Khawaja has been a leading activist in the Gulf kingdom, which has been in political turmoil since pro-democracy protests erupted in February 2011.

In March Ms Khawaja was sentenced to three months in prison for "insulting and humiliating a public employee".

Since then she has been sentenced to several additional short terms on other charges which she is serving concurrently.

Her father is among eight activists and opposition figures sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state.

The evidence that Mr Khawaja was convicted on is widely accepted as having been secured under torture.

Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family but the majority population is Shia who have long complained of discrimination.

On 14 February 2011, peaceful protesters - many of them Shia - calling for reform and democracy took over Pearl Roundabout.

Three days later security forces cleared the site using tear gas, batons and birdshot.

As violence escalated 35 people, including five police officers, were killed, hundreds more were hurt and thousands jailed in February and March 2011.

Since then, opposition and human rights activists say more than 50 people have died, a figure which the government disputes.