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OHCHR Alarmed By Detention of Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab

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Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 3 October 2014

(1) Bahrain

We are alarmed at the detention of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain on Wednesday after his return from an overseas trip during which he discussed the human rights situation in Bahrain with various interlocutors, including the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva.

Rajab has been accused of publicly insulting a Government institution on social media and detained until Thursday next week pending investigation. Rajab had just been released in May, after serving out a two-year sentence for ‘unauthorised gathering’ and ‘offending an official institution’ Rajab’s detention comes a month after another prominent human rights defender, Maryam Al-Khawaja was arrested and charged with assaulting two police officers. She was conditionally released on 1 October and a travel ban against her was lifted. Her trial date has been set for 5 November.

The detention of high-profile human rights activists like Nabeel Rajab and Maryam Al-Khawaja sends a chilling message to other lesser-known activists of the consequences they may face for any criticism of the authorities. Rajab had expressed to UN human rights staff his fears that upon his return to his country, he may face reprisals for his advocacy for human rights in Bahrain. This is a very disturbing development.

We urge Bahraini authorities to immediately release Nabeel Rajab and all other individuals detained for peaceful exercise of their rights. Human rights defenders in Bahrain must be able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.


- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15135&LangID=E#sthash.tq65JB4k.dpuf

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