Bahrain: Free Nabeel Rajab Immediately and Unconditionally

NabeelRajab9 October 2014. The undersigned more than 100 organisations call for the immediate and unconditional release of detained human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, arrested on 1 October 2014 in Bahrain.

Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), was summoned on 1 October 2014 to attend an investigation at the Criminal Investigation Directorate, specifically the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security. The investigation session lasted about 45 minutes and focused on two tweets that the authorities claim have offended the Ministry of Interior.
One tweet, from 28 September 2014, said: “many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS have come from the security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator.”

Rajab was detained until the following day when the public prosecution ordered his detention be extended for seven days pending investigation. On 9 October, no hearing took place and his case was instead transferred to the Lower Criminal Court for a hearing on 19 October, thus extending his detention a further ten days. It should be noted that he is no longer under pre-trial detention as he has now been charged. In addition, a new complaint was filed by the Bahraini Defense Forces in relation to the same tweet about ISIS. The BDF claims it was insulting to both security and military institutions of Bahrain.

It’s feared that the government of Bahrain may try to imprison Rajab for a long time. Under Article 216 of the Bahraini Penal Code, this crime is punishable with up to three years in prison. Article 216 provides that: “A person shall be liable for imprisonment or payment of a fine if he offends by any method of expression the National Assembly, or other constitutional institutions, the army, law courts, authorities or government agencies.”

Rajab was imprisoned several times in the past few years. On 9 July 2012, the 5th Lower Criminal Court sentenced him to three months in prison, in a case that is linked to six tweets he posted on 2 June 2012. He had served almost the full sentence before that conviction was overturned on 23 August 2012. However, on 16 August 2012, the Lower Criminal Court also sentenced Rajab to three years’ imprisonment for “participation in illegal gatherings and calling for a march without prior notification.” That sentence was reduced on 11 December 2012 to two years, and he was released on 24 May 2014.

During his previous imprisonment, Rajab has been subject to discrimination and ill-treatment in prison, including being placed in solitary confinement with a dead animal, being isolated from other political detainees for his entire detention period and being prevented from contacting his family on occasion, including after he reported violations that he had witnessed in prison. He was not permitted to see his family on the Eid this past week.

The undersigned organisations consider the detention of Rajab since 1 October to be a clear act of discrimination. Last month, another citizen was accused of a crime under the same article of the law, "offending the army"; however while that person was released within 24 hours, Rajab was denied release, presumably due to his reputation as a well-known human rights defender with a lot of influence on twitter, both locally and internationally.

We believe strongly that Nabeel Rajab has been targeted solely due to his peaceful and legitimate human rights work and in particular his recent successful missions to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the European Union in Brussels. He is being detained for merely exercising his rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The undersigned over 100 organisations call for:
1.    The immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab and all other human rights defenders who have been detained in Bahrain solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work;
2.    The Bahrain authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Nabeel Rajab;
3.    The Bahrain authorities to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

We further urge the UN, US administration, the UK government, as well as other governments that have influence in Bahrain, the EU and leading human rights organizations to put real pressure on the government of Bahrain in order to immediately stop the judicial harassment of human rights defenders; drop all charges against them and release all detained human rights defenders and political prisoners, including Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, founder of BCHR and GCHR, and Naji Fateel of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

1.    AMAN Network for Rehabilitation and Defending Human Rights   
2.    Amel Association, Lebanon   
3.    Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)   
4.    Arab Digital Expression, Egypt   
5.    Arab Institute For Human Rights, Lebanon   
6.    Arab Lawyers Union, Egypt    
7.    Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)   
8.    Article 19, Bahrain   
9.    Association Dea Dia  Serbia   
10.    Avocate Algerienne, Algeria   
11.    Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) Network    Welcome to Excel
12.    Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)   
13.    Bahrain Human Right Society   
14.    Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO)   
15.    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)   
16.    Bahrain Interfaith   
17.    Bahrain Rehabilitation & Anti Violence Organisation (BRAVO)   
18.    Activist Organization For Development And Human Rights, Yemen   
19.    Agencia EFE, Spain   
20.    Albadeal centre for studies and research, Jordan   
21.    Alkarama, Switzerland   
22.    All Youth Organization, Yemen   
23.    AMAL Human Development Network, Pakistan   
24.    Bahrain Salam for Human Rights   
25.    Bahrain Transparency   
26.    Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights   
27.    BRAC,
28.    nt Center, Lebanon   
29.    Center for TBangladesh   
30.    Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)   
31.    CARAM-Asia, Malaysia   
32.    Caritas Migraransitional Justice, Tunisia   
33.    CIVICUS, South Africa   
34.    Coalition of Tunisian Women
35.    Community Development Services (CDS), Sri Lanka   
36.    Defending Justice and Rights, USA   
37.    Dewany civil office of ombudsman, USA   
38.    Egyptian Organization For Human Rights (EOHR)      
39.    English Pen   
40.    European Saudi Organizations for Human Rights, Germany   
41.    European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR)     
42.    Filastiniyat, Palestine   
43.    Fondation Chokri Belaid Contre la Violence, Tunisia   
44.    Forum des Alternatives Maroc, Morocco   
45.    Fraternity Center for Democracy and Civil Society   
46.    Freedom House   
47.    Front Line Defenders   
48.    Gesr Center for Development (GESR)    
49.    Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)   
50.    Humanitarian Rights Center, Yemen
51.    Human Right Information And Training Centre, Yemen   
52.    Human Rights and the Ahwazi Arabs, UK   
53.    Human Rights Information And Training Centre, Lebanon   
54.    Independent Commission for Citizens Rights, Palestine     
55.    Index on Censorship   
56.    International Awareness Youth Club, Egypt)   
57.    International centre for supporting rights and freedom, Egypt   
58.    International Civil Society Network     
59.    International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)   
60.    International Media Support (IMS), Denmark   
61.    International Press Institute (IPI)   
62.    International Service for Human Rights   
63.    INTERSOS, Italy   
64.    Islamic Non Violence Organization, USA   
65.    Jordanian Commission for Democratic Culture   
66.    Justice for Iran (JFI),UK   
67.    Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture, Lebanon   
68.    Kuwait Institute For Human Rights   
69.    Kuwait Society For Human Rights   
70.    L'Association de la Réinsertion des Prisonniers et le Suivi des Conditions des Prisons, Tunisia
71.    L'Association Tunisienne de Defense des Droits de L'Enfant, Tunisia   
72.    Lawyer's Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)   
73.    Ligue algerienne pour la defense des droits de l'homme (LADDH), Algeria   
74.    Ligue Tunisienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (LTDH), section Sfax sud, Tunisia
75.    L'Organisation marocaine des droits humains, Morroco    
76.    Lualua centre for human rights (LCHR), Lebanon   
77.    Maharat Foundation, Lebanon   
78.    Martin Ennals Award, Switzerland   
79.    MENA monitoring group, Tunisia   
80.    Monitoring of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia    
81.    Network of Algerian Human Rights Lawyers
82.    New Bakkah Foundation, Switzerland   
83.    Nidal Tagheer Organization for Defending Rights and rights, Yemen   
84.    No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ - Italy)   
85.    Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT - Italy)   
86.    Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), Norway    
87.    Palestinian Institute for Human Rights   
88.    Peace Mission of the International Council for Human Rights, Yemen   
89.    PEN International   
90.    Rafto Foundation, Norway   
91.    Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), France    
92.    Réseau des avocats algérien pour défendre les droits de l'homme, Algeria   
93.    RO'YA Association for a Better Syria, France   
94.    Shia Rights Watch, USA   
95.    Sudanese Development Initiative (SUDIA)   
96.    Syrian Center for Democracy and Civil Rights   
97.    Syrian Nonviolence Movement   
98.    Tunisian Initiative for Freedom of Expression   
99.    Tunisian National Council for Liberties (CNLT)   
100.    Un ponte per, Italy     
101.    Vivarta    
102.    Volunteers Without borders, Lebanon   
103.    Women Research and Training Centre   
104.    World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)   
105.    Youth for Humanity, Egypt   
106.    Youth Transparency & Building, Yemen   

Sumaya, Adam and Malek Rajab


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