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Bahrain must immediately and unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab: CIVICUS

8 May 2012

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is shocked at the arrest and detention of Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.

Nabeel Rajab was arrested on 5 May 2012 upon arrival at Manama airport. According to reports, he has been accused of “insulting the statutory bodies” pursuant to Article 216 of the Penal Code, which carries an imprisonment for a term up to three years and a fine. These charges come in relation to tweets that Nabeel posted that were deemed “insulting” to the Ministry of Interior.

“We believe that Nabeel Rajab’s arrest is an outright violation of the state’s duty to protect the freedom of speech of its citizens,” says Netsanet Belay, Policy and Research Director at CIVICUS. “He has been arrested for no reason other than his peaceful, legal and courageous acts of human rights activism.”

Nabeel Rajab is the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation of Human Rights. He has been an ardent critic of Bahrain’s regime, which has continued, despite international condemnation, to attack the human and democratic rights of the people of Bahrain since the popular uprisings began in February 2011.

At the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal in September 2011, Nabeel gave a powerful account of the systemic repression of protestors in Bahrain which has so far claimed 40 lives, resulted in serious injuries of hundreds of demonstrators and imprisonment of scores of human rights defenders through sham trials.

CIVICUS calls for an end to rights violations in Bahrain and the immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab and other Bahraini human rights defenders.

CIVICUS is a legally registered non-profit 501 (c) (3) organisation, EIN 52-1847010 (USA)

CIVICUS is a registered non-profit organisation, registration number 029-864-NPO (South Africa) 

As a signatory/member to the INGO Accountability Charter CIVICUS is committed to upholding the highest standards of professional conduct and accountability.

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