Posted 2012/8/17

Bahrain: Three-year prison sentence handed down to human rights defender Nabeel Rajab

Nabeel RajabNabeel Rajab

On 16 August 2012, prominent human rights defender Mr Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years imprisonment on charges of illegal assembly by the Bahraini Lower Criminal Court.

Nabeel Rajab is President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights.

He has campaigned around the world to bring attention to human rights abuses in Bahrain, including the case of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

The charges against Nabeel Rajab included the following: “involvement in illegal practices and inciting gatherings and calling for unauthorised marches through social networking sites” and “participation in illegal gathering and calling for a march without prior notification”. Nabeel Rajab's lawyer is reportedly planning to appeal against the ruling.

Previously, on 9 July, in a separate case, Nabeel Rajab was sentenced by the Bahraini Lower Criminal Court to three months imprisonment for sending a Tweet about the Bahraini Prime Minister. Nabeel Rajab appealed the guilty verdict and the Higher Appeal Court postponed their verdict on 16 August. The verdict is now expected on 23 August.

For further information on the persecution to which Nabeel Rajab has been subjected for carrying out his legitimate human rights work, please see Nabeel Rajab and refer to our Press Release of the 16 August 2012: Press Release: Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab sentenced to 3 years in jail – for a Tweet

Front Line Defenders condemns the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab and believes that it is solely motivated by his legitimate human rights activities. The prosecution of Nabeel Rajab for exercising his rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, before a court that has consistently failed to adhere to international fair trial standards, is part of a pattern of repression by the Bahraini authorities against human rights defenders that remains ongoing despite strong international concern.

See also Joint Letter to Bahraini authorities signed by Front Line Defenders and more than 40 other human rights organisations

Action Update Needed. Before taking further action on this case please contact info@frontlinedefenders.org for further information