53 organisations urge UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to call for Nabeel Rajab’s release, who will face trial on 28 December for speaking out about human rights abuses in Bahrain.
Nabeel Rajab is President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, the Founding Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, and the Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights. He has been imprisoned for tweeting.
Rajab has been incarcerated several times during his lifetime due to speaking out against the human rights violations committed by the Bahraini government and its Saudi coalition war in Yemen. He has led numerous protests against the government since the 1990s uprising in which activists demanded democratic reforms. In the protests around 40 civilians were killed.
In the past Rajab has also criticised the US, an ally of Bahrain, for turning a blind eye to the government’s human rights abuses.
Rajab will face up to 15 years in prison for posts made on his Twitter account which documented prison torture allegations and criticised the war in Yemen. Charges include: “disseminating false rumours in time of war” (Article 133 of the Penal Code1), “insulting a statutory body” (Article 216 of the Penal Code2) and “offending a foreign country [Saudi Arabia]” (under Article 215 of the Penal Code) (see background information).
Whatever happens, it is very unlikely that it will stop Rajab speaking out against injustice.
“I know [the Bahraini authorities] are serious about targeting me or silencing me. I guarantee that they will leave me alone if I keep quiet. But I know myself I will never keep quiet. I will keep speaking for those people, for those victims, who cannot speak about themselves.” Nabeel Rajab, 2016
His trial has been postponed to 28 December.