More than 3,000 people have been imprisoned in Bahrain since the 2011 Arab Spring as the government continues its crackdown on supposed dissidents. Over 100 have been killed.
The small Arab monarchy is also home to the U.S.’ biggest regional naval base and historically a large consumer of U.S. arms. Those sales had been frozen by the U.S. following the country’s attacks on protesters, but President Trump recently lifted those sanctions, allowing for the sale of $2.8 billion worth of American fighter jets.
Last year, human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was sent to prison for questioning the Bahrain government on Twitter, and he’s facing 18 years. He’s criticized Trump for overlooking human rights abuses and pursuing the arms deals.
VICE News obtained an audio recording from Rajab.
This segment originally aired June 15, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.