See below for more information on Nabeel Rajab and the petition to release him from prison for exercising his right to free expression in Bahrain.
Nabeel Rajab is president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and one of the world’s most celebrated human rights defenders. For decades he has worked to document and remedy human rights violations in his home country of Bahrain and in the wider Middle East, raising awareness for critical problems from the abuse of migrant workers to restrictions on free speech.
But, since it violently suppressed the country’s 2011 pro-democracy movement, the Bahraini government has relentlessly targeted independent voices like Rajab’s. This past July, after more than a year in pre-trial detention, a court sentenced him to two years in prison for giving interviews to media outlets.
The topic of those interviews? Restrictions on press freedom in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s authorities aren’t stopping there. Rajab faces another 15 years in a separate case stemming solely from Tweets in which he criticized both the devastating war in Yemen and the systematic use of torture in Bahraini prisons. If that wasn’t enough, the government is even threatening to prosecute him over letters published by the New York Times and Le Monde, as well as another set of social media comments – all of which were posted while he was in detention.
Throughout this period the authorities have held Rajab in extended solitary confinement and unhygienic conditions that have led to a drastic deterioration of his health and repeated hospitalizations. He’s since been transferred to Bahrain’s notorious Jau Prison, where his family reports he’s been subjected to arbitrary searches, degrading treatment like forced shaving, and late-night cell raids. Guards have even confiscated his personal effects, including books and clothes.
Rajab’s imprisonment has been met with international condemnation, from the UN to the US Congress and State Department. But it’s up to you to make sure that the Government of Bahrain knows it can’t get away with jailing human rights defenders.
With his next hearings scheduled for November 19 and 22, please sign this petition calling on the Bahraini authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab and all other prisoners of conscience held solely for exercising their right to free expression.
After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
Also write, email, and tweet at the Bahraini Foreign Minister and the Bahraini embassies in London and Washington at the following addresses. Feel free to use this sample tweet to show your solidarity:
No one should be jailed for #FreeExpression. @khalidalkhalifa, @BahrainEmbDC, @BahrainEmbUK must free @NABEELRAJAB at once! #FreeNabeel #Bahrain
|FM Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
|Embassy of Bahrain in Washington, DC
|Embassy of Bahrain in London
|P.O. Box 547
Government Ave, Manama, Bahrain
|3502 International Dr NW
Washington, DC 20008
|330 Belgrave Square, Knightsbridge
London SW1X 8QB, UK
Background information from Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain:
> Nabeel Rajab: a Lifelong Human Rights Defender
> Nabeel Rajab sentenced to 2 years in absentia as unfair trial concludes
> Bahrain Postpones Nabeel Rajab’s Appeal against Two-Year Prison Term
> UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Cites Bahrain as “Egregious” Perpetrator of Reprisals
Background information from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy:
> Nabeel Rajab Faces Absurd New Charges In Latest Attempt to Silence Jailed Critic
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