Rights bodies urge West to pressure Bahrain authorities to drop activist's charges

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Bahrain
Saturday, 17 January 2015


Two rights groups have called on Bahrain’s Western allies to exert pressure on Manama to drop charges against prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab.

“Bahrain’s allies including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European countries should publicly call on Manama to drop charges against the human rights advocate Nabeel Rajab,” Human Rights Watch and the [Persian] Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) said on Friday.

The two groups were among 16 international rights organizations that sent letters to European officials calling for them to urge the Bahraini authorities to drop the prosecution of Rajab.

The deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, Joe Stork, said, “This is an open-and-shut freedom of expression case.”

He added that Rajab should not have been charged in the first place.

Director of the GCHR, Khalid Ibrahim, also said that all those governments that are proclaiming their commitment to freedom of expression must make it clear to Bahrain that Rajab should not be jailed.

Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is on trial over remarks he posted on Twitter that were regarded as insulting to the Al Khalifa regime.

He was arrested on October 1, 2014, after posting comments about reports that members of Bahrain’s security forces had joined the ISIL militants in Iraq, and was charged with “publicly insulting official institutions.”

The human rights activist could face up to six years in prison if convicted over the Twitter post. A court ruling is expected on January 20, 2015.

Rajab had been freed in May 2014 after serving two years in prison for participating in anti-regime protests.

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