15 NGOs Demand Number of States to Urge Bahrain Release Nabeel Rajab

2017-11-24 - 9:07 p

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) condemned upholding the two-year jail term sentence against prominent Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. The institute said that Rajab's imprisonment is a reprisal against his work as a human rights defender, and called for his immediate and unconditional release. Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, Director of Advocacy, BIRD said "This is a slap in the face of free expression and tragically proves Nabeel's point that the justice system is corrupt. Bahrain's rulers are fearful of the truth and have lashed out against it once again. This Bahraini repression has been enabled by their western allies in the US and UK."

Yesterday, fifteen international and local NGOs wrote to states including the UK, US, EU, Norway, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Canada urging them to call for Nabeel Rajab's immediate and unconditional release. Their voices were joined by protesters in London. In Washington D.C., a petition signed by 15,000 people calling for Rajab's release was delivered to the Bahrain embassy.

Rajab will serve his sentence at notorious Jaw Prison until December 2018, by which time he will have actually spent two and a half years in prison.  Rajab was first arrested in June 2016 and charged with spreading fake news in media interviews. However, the prosecution did not begin investigating his charges until six months into his detention, in December 2016. He faces up to 15 years in prison in a second case related to his comments on Twitter, with the next hearing on 31 December.

BIRD believes that the Bahraini courts have failed to provide Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), a fair trial at every turn. During his hospitalization earlier this year, multiple court hearings were held in Rajab's absence, including his sentencing in July.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has avoided expressing concern over Nabeel Rajab's sentencing in its answers to four parliamentary questions since July. In their latest statement, they stated: "We continue to closely monitor the case of Nabeel Rajab and have frequently raised it with the Bahraini Government at the highest levels." Meanwhile, 25 British MPs have condemned the sentence. Following Rajab's sentencing on 10 July, the United States, European Union and Norway called for Rajab's release. Germany deplored his sentence and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' office called for his unconditional release.

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المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
رابط الموضوع: http://www.bahrainmirror.com/en/news/43375.html