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Human Rights First: Rajab’s Verdict to Show US Terms’ Efficiency in F16 Deal with Bahraini

2016-10-08 - 6:52 am

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights First urged the US government to link the proposed sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain to the release of jailed Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, who faces a verdict in court tomorrow.

According to the human rights organization, "Last week Obama Administration officials indicated that the sale of 19 F-16 aircrafts to the regime would come with human rights requirements of the Bahraini government, but did not detail the specifics of these conditions." 

In the statement issued on the organization's website, Human Rights First's Brian Dooley stated, "The United States should publicly spell out the strings attached to the F-16 sales so that the Bahraini regime has no doubt what is expected and the international community can hold Bahrain accountable for meeting the requirements. The first condition should be an acquittal for Rajab tomorrow and the dropping of all charges against him."

"They should also include the release of other specifically-named prisoners, the reinstatement of banned opposition and civil society organizations, and an end to the targeting human rights activists," he went on to say.

Rajab, a prominent critic of the Bahraini regime's repression, was arrested in June and charged with a series of free speech-related offenses, including "insulting a neighboring country."

Last month, Rajab wrote an opinion piece from prison for The New York Times describing how he had met Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year. This therefore subjected him to an additional charge of "undermining the kingdom's prestige."

In his letter, Rajab said, "I would like to ask Mr. Kerry now: Is this the kind of ally America wants? The kind that punishes its people for thinking, that prevents its citizens from exercising their basic rights?"

It's worth mentioning that The US State Department called for Rajab's immediate release following the publication of the opinion piece, but he remains in prison. Rajab faces more than ten years in prison if convicted, the Human Rights First statement added.

Rajab's verdict was supposed to be upheld Thursday (October 6), but was postponed till October 31.

Arabic Version    


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