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Bahraini human rights activist sentenced to two years in prison

CAIRO — A court in Bahrain upheld the conviction of a prominent human rights activist on Tuesday, sentencing him to two years in a case that has exposed the government to international criticism and was seen as a crucial test of the monarchy’s repeated pledges to allow greater political freedom.

The activist, Nabeel Rajab, had been sentenced in August to three years in prison on charges of inciting antigovernment protests. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed one of the charges against Rajab, who has been incarcerated since August, reducing the sentence to two years from three, according to Rajab’s brother.

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‘‘It is very disappointing,’’ said the brother, Ammar Rajab, who suggested that the decision originated with Bahrain’s rulers rather than its judiciary. ‘‘The leadership of the country are not allowing him to go out of prison.’’

Nabeel Rajab is among the leading figures in an opposition movement that has worked to ease the monarchy’s stranglehold on political life and a regular critic of members of the ruling family.

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