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Lawyers for Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab unable to secure his early release from prison

Lawyers representing jailed Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab say a court in the Gulf kingdom has rejected their request for his early release.

Rajab received a three-year prison sentence in August 2012 on charges of encouraging "illegal gatherings" tied to anti-government unrest in the country, though a court later reduced the term by a year.

Lawyer Jalila al-Sayed said a judge rejected her request Sunday to approve a conditional early release, for which Rajab is now eligible under Bahraini law.

Rajab heads the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and is one of several high-profile prisoners from crackdowns during an uprising by the country's majority Shiites that began in 2011.

The protesters seek a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.