The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing judicial harassment against human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, President of BCHR. The court of appeal upheld the six-month imprisonment sentence against him today, 14 May 2015.
Rajab was initially sentenced on 20 January 2015 to six months in prison on charges of “insulting the Ministry of Interior” related to a tweet he published in September 2014, in which the military institutions in Bahrain are described as incubators of extremist ideologies.
Rajab has been held in detention since 2 April 2015 pending investigation and without a trial on charges of “spreading false news” and “insulting a statutory body” for tweeting about the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen and about the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison, which has been documented in several reports by BCHR.
Said Yousif AlMuhafdha, Vice-President of BCHR, said, “The ongoing judicial harassment against human rights defenders in Bahrain reflects the outcome of a lack of consequences for the government, as foreign officials continue their policy of business as usual with the government that completely ignores its commitment for human rights.”
Nabeel Rajab had previously spent two years in prison for tweeting about protests and is at risk of spending another 10 years in prison for tweeting, a form of freedom of expression.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States and other national and international bodies to:
- Publicly call for the Government of Bahrain to release human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and overturn the conviction against him and vacate his sentence;
- Apply pressure on the Government of Bahrain to halt any further judicial harassment of Nabeel Rajab and other human rights defenders in Bahrain;
- Urge the Bahraini government to repeal laws that infringe upon internationally protect rights; and
- Urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure that civil society organizations and human rights defenders in Bahrain may conduct their work without fear of retaliation or reprisal.
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